In the article I chose, Marine Mammal’s Battle of the Sexes, scientists talk about how when it comes to determining the sex, it may just come down to the placed skin folds. The scientist who suggested this is Patricia Brennan, an evolutionary biologist at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass. In numerous amounts of ocean mammals, the male-female genital has evolved over time which has made mating easier for these species. Scientist call this “convergent evolution”. Convergent evolution is the process whereby organisms not closely related, independently evolve similar traits as a result of having to adapt to similar environments or ecological niches.
In other species however, they are exposed to “antagonistic evolution”. Antagonistic evolution is the relationship between males and females where sexual morphology changes over time to counteract the opposite sex traits to achieve the maximum reproductive success. In Patricia Brennan’s collaboration, she has stated that in order to examine ocean mammals such as a dolphins, it takes “extra creativity”.
In order to take the research to the next level, Brennan and her team have used saline to inflate preserved genitals from all different species. However, the unique thing about the cetaceans’ genitals is that it would not inflate with only saline. Diana Kelly, a penis biomechanics expert at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has suggests pressurizing the saline with a beer keg.
Although pressurizing the saline with a beer keg seems like a joke, it successfully worked. The scientists who was apart of the study, then created a 3D model of the cetaceans male-female genitalia. With this model, scientists were able to easily visualize that it is both antagonistic and convergent coevolution.
However, this research has received a lot of criticism. Conservative news websites and internet trolls have attacked her research and states it is a “wasteful government spending”. Brennan and her team quickly responded publicly with an essay on “Slate”. In their essay, they argue that basic science moves society forward and is a valid use of public funds. Although this research is “weird”, they have a enough reason to keep discovering. Critique I choose to critique the article, “”.
I believe that this article is convincing because I found this article interesting because it was