Why did Darwin Change his Mind about Sex Ratio?

Date:

Why did Darwin Change his Mind about Sex Ratio?

Speaker: Prof Elliott Sober

Elliott Sober

In the first edition of Descent of Man (871), Darwin attempts to describe how natural selection influences the percentage of males and females that a population contains. He argues that selection will cause an even sex ratio to evolve when the population is monogamous, but that a biased sex ratio will result when there is polygyny. Darwin withdraws this explanation in the second edition (1874) but does not explain why.

Darwin withdraws this explanation in the second edition

In this lecture, I'll explain Darwin's argument and speculate about why he had second thoughts.

Tea will be served in the Library from 5.30pm and the lecture will be followed by a wine reception.

This meeting is free and open to all; registration is not necessary.