I was watching the great David Attenborough last night, talking about the theories and observations of the also great Charles Darwin. Natural selection has obviously produced millions of fascinating practical adaptations but the features of the natural world that strike me as the craziest are those that have come about through sexual selection. The fact that one sex – usually the female – gets to choose their mate creates some truly bizarre (and frankly impractical) physical effects and behaviours.
It could be argued that sexual selection does not work in the same way in the human population – the most ‘attractive’ individuals are not necessarily those that procreate the most abundantly. But if for a minute we assumed that sexual selection was dominant, how would we evolve as a species?
The features that female humans find attractive would gradually become more and more pronounced in male humans. In a few thousand years us guys could develop:
- Fingers that are shaped like different screwdrivers, including Phillips, and a thumb like an Alan key (for doing DIY of course)
- Facial hair that stops at the designer stubble stage
- The capacity to listen to a word-by-word account of our partner’s day without looking bored
- An ability to dance