Look at this idiot

Look at this idiot. He looks ridiculous!

found on: https://i1.wp.com/cichlid.umd.edu/cichlidlabs/kocherlab/EvolutionaryGeneticsRC/stalkeye.jpg

Honestly, what on Earth compelled this moron to have eyes protruding at the apexes of stalks perpendicular to its body?

Now see, here’s a reasonable fruit fly, with its eyes no further from head than need be:

found on: https://i1.wp.com/www.copyright-free-pictures.org.uk/insects/fly.jpg

And then take one more look at the stalk-eyed fruit fly:



Perhaps you’re thinking, “Aw, that trait was selected because it’s advantageous in the fruit fly’s environment.” Seriously though, I can conceive of no possible advantage to these eyes. They’re really more of an obstacle than anything else.

As it turns out, the force to blame is a mutation in female fruit flies. Said mutation spurs these insects to prefer males with eyes that stick out. This preference emerged even before there were any stalk-eyed males, but as soon as those males started appearing (again, random mutations at work), ALL the ladies preferred them, and then subsequent generations were born with progressively longer and longer stalks. In essence, the only advantage offered by the stalks has to do with sexual selection, and the only reason they haven’t died out is because the stalks aren’t sufficiently disadvantageous as to render the flies totally discombobulated.

The female preference bias is probably at work in many birds, especially those species in which males have absurdly flagrant features and females do not (peacocks being the most obvious example). It is amusingly evident in ducks, though in a purely structural (as opposed to observationally preferable) way. Female ducks have, over time, developed increasingly convoluted vaginas, thus hindering all but the mightiest would-be penises from getting very far. As such, in strange divergence from most birds (most male birds transmit semen using multi-purpose cavities called cloacas), ducks have evolved ballistic penises of generationally increasing convolution proportional to that of the females’ vaginas. These organs come in the most outrageous corkscrew shapes:

found on: https://i1.wp.com/www.wired.com/images_blogs/wiredscience/2010/08/duckpenis.jpg

So, to all men who’ve inherited undesirable traits from your fathers: you know they’re not to blame.


4 responses to “Look at this idiot

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