Bug-a-boo

Why do men exist? Just ask the Tribolium flour beetle

MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/GettyImages

Men are great and everything, but from an evolutionary perspective, it has never been entirely clear why they exist. Scientists have long noted that reproduction between males and females is far less efficient than all-female asexual reproduction. But a new study of the Tribolium flour beetle puts forth a theory about why the world needs its dudes. Researchers who studied the lab-controlled procreation of the flour beetle found that sexual selection, the process in which males compete for females, helps the species become fitter and more resilient. In other words, beetle populations with a high percentage of males—and therefore stronger sexual selection rates— spawned the healthiest offspring. Researchers specifically studied Tribolium beetles because the males do not contribute anything to the rearing of offspring. Moral of the story? Even deadbeat dads can serve a purpose.

Read the full story at Newser.

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