Female promiscuity is common in chimpanzees, chickens, salmon, sea urchins and obviously humans. But no one ever found an evolutionary benefit to it (although they had found plenty of negatives, including disease and death to the hussy female). Now, scientists examining red flour beetles suggest females have an innate drive to sample lots of sperm to find the most compatible seed and increase the number of offspring that will survive.
Scientists at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom found that inbred (therefore handicapped fertility-wise) female red flour beetles mating with just one male had a 50 per cent fewer surviving offspring than non-inbred beetles. But those that mated with five males managed to have the same reproductive success as non-inbred populations.
The research will appear in the September 23 issue of the journal Science.
Yes, the study was in beetles, so it’s a bit of a jump to make assumptions about humans. But if dudes can blame science for their indiscretions, women should be able to, too, dammit!
Image: Shutterstock/Jason Stitt