A useful lesson for us all as we consider such things as gender differences in employment, careers chosen, working hours and so many other matters that confuse modern society. Sex differences are about sex. Our example today being how the narwhal got its tusk:
Now a study suggests that the true purpose of these horns has less to do with the supernatural and everything to do with sex.
Researchers collected data on 245 adult male narwhals, which were observed in the waters off Greenland over the course of 35 years. They measured the whales’ bodies, the width of their tails and the length of their tusks.
Roughly speaking, they found that large males had tusks that were even longer than one would expect. This kind of exaggerated growth is known as “hyperallometry” and can be interpreted as a sign that a particular biological feature has evolved as a tool to scare off rival males and to impress females.
As the researchers put it in a study published in the journal Biology Letters: “The information being signalled is simple: ‘I am bigger than you.’”
And so we explain tight fitting t-shirts, codpieces and budgie smugglers.
Sex differences are about sex. We’ll also fake them if we’ve not got them. And thus implodes most grievance studies departments.