Interesting Evolutionary Answers To Everyday Questions
The father of modern evolutionary theory is English naturalist Charles Darwin, who described and scientifically proved the mechanism of evolution called natural selection. Although evolutionary theory originally emerged in a field of biology, eventually it has made a huge impact on sociology, psychology and culture as a whole. The theory suggests that all living species are driven by desire to survive and reproduce. Favorable biological traits as well as adaptive behavior are rewarded in evolutionary perspective, while others eventually vanish. In simple words, appearance and behavior of an animal should have adaptive reasons, which helped to survive in its environment. Evolutionary approach can give very interesting answers to everyday questions such as human relationship, food preferences, gender differences, phobias and other.
Why women experience morning sickness during pregnancy? The researches have shown that while pregnant, women become extremely sensitive to products, which are potentially harmful to a baby. Getting rid of those products is reasonable body response necessary to protect new life. However, alcohol is very harmful to a baby as well, but it is not naturally recognized as such. A simple explanation is that there weren’t much wine and beer around thousands of years ago, and evolution is a slow process.
Why men hate shopping? Firstly we should specify what exactly men hate about shopping. Obviously acquiring new sports car wouldn’t make most of the men unsatisfied. In general men just hate spending lots of time examining every detail and choosing an item to buy, which women usually do. An explanation for that can be found in prehistoric times. Men spent thousands of years hunting, while women were gathering herbs and fruits. For a gatherer it is important to take time to examine if a fruit is ripe and not poisonous. Contrary a hunter needs to react fast, or the game will run away. In modern supermarket products are not likely to run away from shelves, yet men still become irritated if they can’t find an item to buy fast.
Why we love our children? From evolutionary standpoint the main goal of having children is to spread one’s genes. Different species have different strategies of spreading its genes. Some, like, for example flies invest in quantity by producing myriad of eggs. The quantity of eggs ensures that at least some will survive. Contrary humans, as well as other mammals invest into quality. Although we have only few or one offspring, we look after them, teach them and thus ensure that they will survive. Even ultimate altruism resulting in human sacrifice can be logical from an evolutionary point of view if the reason is saving members of a kin with similar genes. Love serves as a motivational emotion for such behavior as well as hunger motivates us to eat, rather than knowledge that we must feed in order to survive.
Why are we afraid of snakes and spiders? When trying to help people with phobias, psychologists try to get to the point when it firs evolved. If someone is afraid of dogs probably he must have been bitten, if someone is scared to death by water, there should had been an episode in life, where he/she had nearly drowned. However some of the fears are inherited from our ancestors. Living in a jungle, prehistoric humans were quick to learn, that snakes and spiders can be deathly. Fear was an adaptive advantage because avoiding snakes and spiders helped to survive. This inherited phobia makes us afraid of snakes, even if we have not come upon one before.
Why do we like chocolate and sweets? How can sweets have any adaptive reason? Every kid knows that it’s bad for the teeth, but eats it anyway. However there is an explanation here as well. We have originally developed a taste for sweet things because fresh fruits, which are healthy for us have natural sugars in them. Our ancestors, who were eating lots of fruits, were healthier and reproduced more and we have inherited preference for sweet food from them. Even though sweets are unhealthy in many cases, we still find them tasty.
Why we were admiring more masculine men 50 year ago than we do now? If you watch old movies you probably notice, that male actors had more masculine traits than today. A man with strong jaw and more massive nose was considered hansom. Today popular male actors have rather feminine looks, for example Leonardo DiCaprio. An explanation might be the fact, that 50 years ago, gender roles were still more traditional. Women more often were seeking for a strong man who can provide for a family and traditional masculine looks correlate with these traits. Today women most often can provide for themselves, so they rather seek for a partner who is gentle, understanding and more involved in raising kids.
Why men are taller than women? The difference in size between males and females across the species can be explained in terms of parental investment. Parental investment describes how much one gender contributes to giving life and raising its offspring. The less male or female animal is involved in parenting the more it has to compete to reproduce. The means of competition can be either physical power or attention grabbing appearance. For example it is common among birds that males are more colorful than females. Bowerbirds try to attract females buy designing extremely colorful nests, which actually are not used to incubate the eggs. The nests for family needs have to be built by females themselves. Lions and dears fight among themselves to get access to a female, that’s why they need to be strong and big in size. This was true for many centuries about men as well.
Why we don’t find our siblings sexually attractive? Having children with our siblings can result in various malformations or weak health. This happens because too similar genes pass on genetically inheritable illnesses, contrary when mixing different genes nature can select the better ones. Naturally it is much more adaptive not to choose your sibling as a reproducing partner. That’s why we not only know it, but most often the very thought of it seems to be disgusting. Of course it only applies to cases where siblings are brought up together. Scientists suggest that in order to recognize someone as a sibling you need to see your parents care of him/her as a child.
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