Today’s pre-made attention grabbing headline is courtesy of Dr Charles Lineweaver, an Associate Professor with the ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences who tonight will be giving a lecture about the “linkages between the origins of multi-cellularity, sex and death” and “where we’ve come from and how the evolution of gender differences has shaped modern gender issues.”
So you know, just a few small topics.
“Now there are people who study sex and this competition between the sexes, but they talk about sexual conflict,” he says.
“I am more interested in the earlier aspects of it, being very origins of sex when some creatures have different mating types.”
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Some species of organism can have more than 20,000 potential mates, he says.
“So you might ask, what’s the advantage of having this division between males and females? By studying creatures that don’t have that division and by studying the origins, the trials, the various ways in which life is found to deal with sex, we can begin to learn more about ourselves.”
Dr Lineweaver was invited to appear at the lecture on behalf of the Gender Institute. And while he says he doesn’t look specifically at modern-day gender issues including pay irregularities between men and women, he is interested in how the male-female gender disputes came to be.
Traditional gender roles were once quite separate, but these days, the expectations of behaviour of each sex can overlap.
“And now some male traits are being selected against and some are being selected for, but that’s always been the case, so as the environment changes, their sexual roles also change.
“It’s interesting to see that but it’s also important to understand what’s going on rather than say ‘men like this and women like this’.”
For more on Dr Lineweaver’s investigations into the origin of sex and death, head along to his public lecture from 4—5pm at Lecture Theatre 2, Hedley Bull Centre.