Interesting

Baby boys born small for their gestational age have a greater chance of infertility as adults than those born at an average weight, research suggests.

One of the things we can observe is that in times of dearth the male/female ratio at birth changes. The ratio at conception we think doesn’t change, but there’s at least limited ability for the womb to “choose” what to allow to come to fruition.

The standard explanation for the change in the usual 106 boys to 100 girls (or so) at birth is that a runty male is no good in the gaining grandkids stakes. Those stakes being the only ones anyone is playing for. Pretty much any woman who is fertile can, if she desires, have a child or more. This is not true of less favoured males.

Hmm, OK. So, in times of famine why bother to try to have a male child? Spontaneously abort, try again next month.

Not sure if this changes that explanation or is in addition to it. For it would lead to the same sorta result. Underweight males are infertile – or more likely to be – rather than just ill-favoured in pursuit of a mate. We’d get to the same end result of any selection process in those times of dearth, wouldn’t we?

6 thoughts on “Interesting”

  1. Nope, can’t see any selection / survival benefit into putting massive resources into an infertile offspring. Far better that unsuitables are not brought to term.

  2. Always thought that more males were produced so the tribe could use them up fighting the zombies while the women and children were the first to flee.

  3. “the link was no longer apparent once the team excluded men who had certain genital problems:”

    So it’s really , underweight and non standard equipment = greater chance of infertility for boys.

  4. ‘Baby boys born small for their gestational age have a greater chance of infertility as adults than those born at an average weight, research suggests.’

    You still wouldn’t let ’em screw your daughter.

    We have arrived at Too Much Information. I.e., this is useless information. ‘Greater chance of infertility’ is meaningless, of no practical value.

    BWTM: Why is there no positive declaration of fact? ‘Research suggests’ is a disclaimer. It should say “research shows” if they actually believe it. The Guardian publishes what even it doesn’t believe.

    ‘Nicola Davis writes about science, health and environment for the Guardian and Observer’

    Is the inclusion of ‘suggests’ just reflexive 21st century science journalism? I take it as “Don’t believe anything we say.”

  5. ‘… research suggests..’

    Suggests? Research is supposed to present falsifiable evidence, not suggestions.

    I suggest the Moon is made of green cheese and Mars made of Red Leicester. Is that basis for a discussion?

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