The further away in time the sea monkeys were, the sooner the female sea monkey died. For example, males and females from were also matched with individuals from or It's an arms race; Males continually evolve more effective claspers, while females continually evolve better wrestling skills. Developing these skills can save a female's life, since clasped males can prevent them from feeding or escaping from predators. After the eggs were hatched, Rode and his colleagues played evolutionary matchmaker.
Developing these skills can save a female's life, since clasped males can prevent them from feeding or escaping from predators. For instance, when the male traveled 22 years to mate with a female, her life was cut short on average by 12 percent. Some females deploy acrobatic wrestling skills which help them pry off overly aggressive males. Female sea monkeys from the past had shorter life spans because they had not yet evolved to deal with the deadly mating strategies of future males. For example, sea monkeys hatched from eggs from the past should have a competitive disadvantage over sea monkeys from the present or, relatively speaking, from the future. In other words, the "battle of the sexes" theory seems to have panned out. In essence, by mating sea monkeys from distinct generations, scientists could see first-hand how this evolutionary arms race plays out at different stages. Rode and colleagues began by gathering dormant sea monkey eggs from layers that formed in , and from the Great Salt Lake region of Utah. The further away in time the sea monkeys were, the sooner the female sea monkey died. For example, males and females from were also matched with individuals from or After the eggs were hatched, Rode and his colleagues played evolutionary matchmaker. Of course, the other moral of the study is that having sex with a time traveler, though enticing, might be hazardous to your health — particularly if you happen to be a female sea monkey. They had females mate with males from their own time, as well as from the other years. For instance, male sea monkeys have evolved specialized "claspers" which hold tight to a female during the mating process to prevent her from escaping and mating with other males. It's not good for the female sea monkeys. It turns out that the evolution of sea monkey sexual behavior is a controversial topic among some evolutionary scientists. Rode realized that the capability of sea monkeys to "time travel" offered a unique opportunity to test out this theory. Because this can be harmful and oppressive to the females, the females have developed a few tricks of their own. Sea monkey sexual behavior is particularly interesting to scientists because it is so deadly and risque. One theory for the evolution of such competitive sexual behavior is that male and female sea monkeys are engaged in an evolutionary battle of the sexes. By recreating the conditions for time-traveling sea monkey sex in the lab, Rode thought he might be able shed some light on the issue. It's an arms race; Males continually evolve more effective claspers, while females continually evolve better wrestling skills.
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Sea Monkey Sex!
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