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Male-dominated environment gives rise to `supermen`

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Washington: A new study has revealed that men, who evolve in male-dominated populations, become far better at securing females than those who grow up in monogamous populations.

The University of Sheffield research, led by Dr Allan Debelle and Dr Rhonda Snook, looked at the mating patterns of fruit flies after they evolved for 100 generations in either polyandrous populations (where several males have to compete for a single female) and monogamous populations (where each male has access to only one female).

The scientists discovered that males who evolved in polyandrous populations, where sexual competition was fierce, are much more likely to outcompete the other males and successfully mate, regardless of the population the female comes from.

Interestingly, in this study, the scientists also observed that monogamous female fruit flies seem more reluctant to mate with polyandrous male fruit flies – but yet in 80 per cent of the cases this didn’t matter because polyandrous males outcompeted monogamous males.

Debelle said, “Our research shows that when males evolve under intense sexual competition, they become more and more competitive and basically turn into ‘super males’.”

“This suggests sexual competition can have two opposing evolutionary consequences. It can make courtship behaviour change between populations, which could then prevent matings between them, and lead to more diversification and eventually new species. But sexual competition can also produce very competitive individuals, who will mate successfully with everyone, and act against this diversification,” noted Debelle

The study appears in journal Evolutionary Biology. (ANI)

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