Science

Big Genital Organ In Males Leads To Bigger Brains In Female Fishes

By Duna Bil , Dec 26, 2016 12:19 PM EST
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An interesting new study found that a big genital organ in male mosquitofish leads to the development of bigger brains in the females. The study suggests that this is an evolutionary tactic in the female fishes to better escape the clutches of horny, well-endowed males.

For decades, animal behaviorists have explored the concept of "sexual conflict". This pertains to a specific advantage in the sex that has it but disadvantages the other sex. The other sex then adapts and forms another specific advantage to counteract the other sex.

This concept was combined with another animal behavior idea that suggests preys develop bigger brains to escape their predator.

The new study tested the idea on mosquitofishes which are largely found in Southern U.S. In particular, it focused on the mating practice of the fish which is unusually aggressive and sneaky compared to other animals. In other words, the females are usually caught off guard in the mating process, much like rape according to National Post.   

Some male mosquitofish possess unusually big genital organs, and they use this to their advantage as they sneak behind the female fish and insert their penis.

So the study observed two groups of fish; one with well-endowed males, the other with normal- sized penis males. The study went on for at least nine generations of evolution.

Interestingly, the result showed that the female fish in the group with the well-endowed males have developed brains that are 6 percent heavier compared to the females in the other group.

Aside from the better ability to elude forceful mating, these more clever females also have better reproductive quality and healthier offsprings. This is because they have better the capability in selecting good mates, and more time nourishing their babies.

The study suggests that constant sexual harassment would eventually result to the development of larger brain size in females. Although the application for this data is not yet clear in humans, this finding is becoming popular in the media and have gained the interest of different feminist groups as it is the first study that has linked sexual harassment and changes in the female brain, Psychology Today says.

The study still has a long way to go but the initial finding proves to be promising in the area of understanding human intelligence and sexuality. It is also definitely interesting to find out if a big genital organ in men predispose them to be more aggressive and prone to committing sexual harassment.

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