A Little Less Evolved

Sometimes I wonder whether men have a defective chromosome: the Y was supposed to be an X, but somehow it ended up missing something – a case of stunted growth, or arrested development. This defective chromosome, uniquely characteristic of the human male, causes them to be a little lower on the evolutionary scale, a little less evolved.

Consider their fascination with movement. They always have to be doing something, moving around, busy at this or that. They can’t sit still. This importance of movement is characteristic of many lower animals; something doesn’t even register in the frog’s visual field unless it moves. Certainly movement is required for flight and fight. (And no other options occur to lower animals.) And for many, movement is a form of posturing – which explains the way men walk, and stand, and sit. On the other hand, such excessive physical activity may simply suggest that the organism’s mental activity does not provide enough stimulation.

Not only must they be doing something, they must be doing it loudly. They even speak more loudly than women. And when they’re not speaking, they must be making noise. They derive endless delight from engines, jackhammers, chainsaws… This propensity is suggestive of the lion’s roar – the louder the noise, the greater the threat.

Because, usually, the larger the animal. And of course size is another male obsession. Girth which in a woman would be considered obese and disgusting is carried by men as if it increases their legitimacy, their authority: they thrust out their gut just as they thrust out their chest. It brings to mind animals that inflate themselves to achieve greater size (the balloonfish can actually double its size). Men are concerned not only with physical size, in general and in particular, but also with the size of their paycheques, their houses, their corporations. The bigger, the better.

Closely related to the size thing is the territory thing. Men occupy a lot of space – again, look at the way they stand and sit. They take up, they occupy, more space than they need – they lean on counters, sprawl on chairs, take over small countries. They engage in turf wars, at every level.

Consider also men’s obsession with speed. Cars, trains, planes. Sex. Speed is, of course, important for flight, one of the forementioned behaviours favoured by so many lower animals.

Like their sexual response, men’s emotional response is, well, uncomplicated. They are easy to please. This lack of complexity is further indication that they are simply less evolved.

Some say that language is the mark of higher life forms. And, of course, any grade school teacher will tell you that boys lag behind girls in verbal development. They’re just not very good at communicating. I believe the word I’m looking for is ‘inarticulate.’

By way of summary, consider dick flicks. Also called action movies, there is indeed lots of action. And lots of noise. The heroes are usually big. And they have big things – big guns, usually. The central conflict of a dick flick is almost always territorial. There is little in the way of plot or character development, but there’s always at least one high-speed chase scene. And, understandably, the dialogue in a dick flick consists mostly of short and often incomplete sentences.



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    • quixote on October 29, 2012 at 5:32 pm
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    (Well, just to be all pedantic and biological, all you need is one X, which men have. In women, one of the two X chromosomes is “turned off” in every cell. However, since women have two, and which one goes off is random, a mutation on just one of the Xs isn’t expressed since the other one is turned on in about half the cells. Men don’t have that fallback, so any mutations are expressed. As for what’s on the Y, it’s pretty much genes like Testis Determining Factor and other genes without which physical maleness can’t develop. Plus a few like hair in the ears. Nothing on that tiny chromosome that’s big enough to explain complex behaviors like territoriality and interrupting everyone and jackhammers. One look at mass media, however, suggests an alternate hypothesis.)

    • ptittle on October 30, 2012 at 2:54 am
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    So they’re still mutants then?

    • quixote on October 30, 2012 at 4:55 pm
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    No, not biologically anyway. (Socially? Seems like we could be doing a whole lot better, but that’s another topic.) Biologically, everybody is living on one X chromosome. The only reaon women don’t often display X-linked mutations is because they have two chances to get a functioning copy of a gene, whereas men have only one. X-linked mutations being things like color blindness, hemophilia, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, X-linked retardation, etc., etc. Not one of them explains being a jerk. :S

    • ptittle on November 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm
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    I don’t know whether the facts, now that I know them, thanks, make ‘it’ worse or better! Worse, because it means they CAN help it. Better, because it means they CAN help it!

    • Xiao Mao on December 23, 2012 at 7:46 am
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    Men can “help it”. It’s just that they don’t give a shit.

    • ptittle on December 23, 2012 at 8:01 am
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    by interesting serendipity, i’m reading AS WE SPEAK the comments about Twisty’s Feb/12 “No. 2 Science Information” post…

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