BDavis

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I tried to use this article to weasel out of buying jewelry for my wife, but it didn't work...

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An Invasion of Cheats: The Evolution of Worthless Nuptial Gifts
Natasha R. LeBas and Leon R. Hockham


Nuptial gifts are food items or inedible tokens that are transferred to females during courtship or copulation [1–3]. Tokens are of no direct value to females, and it is unknown why females require such worthless gifts as a precondition of mating. One hypothesis is that token giving arose in species that gave nutritious gifts and males exploited female preferences for nutritional gifts by substituting more easily obtainable but worthless items [4]. An invasion of such behavior would require that females accept the substitute gift and copulate for a period of time similar to that with genuine gifts. We show that both these prerequisites are met in the dance fly Rhamphomyia sulcata, in which females normally accept a nutritious gift. We removed the gift from copulating pairs and replaced it with either a large or small prey item or inedible token. We found that although pairs copulated longest with a large genuine gift, the tokens resulted in copula durations equivalent to those with a small genuine gift. We also observed that males that returned to the lek with tokens re-paired successfully. These findings suggest that female behavior in genuine gift-giving species is susceptible to the invasion of male cheating on reproductive investment.
 

shinchan

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This is hilarious. I'd always seen Valentine's day as a made-up holiday by unscrupulous capitalists to generate revenue in a slow shopping season. I told her that I already treat her as my valentine everyday.

I kept saying this cynically and it's been working so far.
 
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BDavis

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shinchan said:
This is hilarious. I'd always seen Valentine's day as a made-up holiday by unscrupulous capitalists to generate revenue in a slow shopping season. I told her that I already treat her as my valentine everyday.

I kept saying this cynically and it's been working so far.
There is a graph in the paper that looks at the relationship between "Mean copulation time" and the "worthless token" vs "genuine gift". My wife correctly pointed out that even these female flies can tell the difference between a genuine gift and worthless token. The De Beers propaganda even permeates lower organisms. She was not impressed with my pitiful attempt at "translational research"
 

tedrik

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I thought that was some kind of joke for valentines day, but it was a real study! Thanks BDavis, sorry to hear it didn't work with your wife though.
 

uproarhz

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I am a female and I fro one think it's flat out hilarious... I laud the people who went for the study!!! I seriously doubt that's the reason modern day females require such tokens. I think it has more to do with competition among females than anything. I guess many feel like they are behind other women and thus less worthy if they don't get the gifts, while other women are being showered with "worthless" stuff.
But for me personally, the "you're my valentine everyday" cupout works!!! These holidays are overrated anyway!



huseyin said:
I must say I am disappointed too. Most of the women around me did not find it funny(Women in my lab are included.)