Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Flashy Fish And My Testosterone Level

I'm not the sort of good-lookin' man that girls notice and start drooling. I'm more like the sort of guy that drooling girls notice. How I managed to get the attention of my lovely wife without looking like George Clooney is still a mystery to me. So I've always been a little envious of those tall men with ripped abs, 2% body fat, and the sort of face that you find on communist political propaganda posters. No, not the posters featuring Stalin or Mao, the other ones, where optimistic and courageous men and women are looking off into the future and striking vogue poses (such as THIS ONE).

So it is with a great deal of excitement I bring to your attention a recent paper in _American Naturalist_ that suggests the offspring of "beautiful" males are more prone to disease:


HERE is the PubMed paper abstract, for you scientist types.

Of course, the Swedish researcher was studying fishes, not humans. Cichlids, to be exact, but bear with me. She found that males that were larger, had flashier fins, and possessed brighter colorations had higher testosterone levels, and their offspring (including females) had correspondingly higher testosterone levels. Females tend to choose those males to mate with (sound familiar?). But higher levels of testosterone also correspond to a higher susceptibility to pathogens. So the author makes the hypothesis that, as the offspring develop higher levels of testosterones, their overall "fitness" decreases, swinging the favor back to the less-showy males. Yes! But she also points out that the short-term gain of large size may help with egg production and other factors.

So, I'm going to take a giant leap here and say this is proof that less flashy guys like me are at least as mate-worthy as those communist poster-type men. How about it, gals? Go out there and find yourself a nerdy fella to mate with, confident in the proposition that they are just as good if not better for the fitness of your potential offspring as George Clooney.

Sorry, ladies, I'm taken. No, don't cry. I'm sure there are plenty other fish in the sea….

1 comment:

Maggie said...

You're a crack up. But I'm with you, I like my nerdy guy. Always found myself more attracted to the nerdy types.