Don something BIG and OUTRAGEOUS……
The bigger the better – this is how male thinking goes in the animal kingdom. Of course there is a fine line, between having a set of antlers the size of a tree and survival. Running from a lion with an enormous adornment wobbling on your head…… is risky business.
But as every lady will tell you………. size matters.
So, if you’re a red blooded male, I am sure you want to know how you can grow your own personal chick magnet…
Recipe for a chick magnet
Researchers from the University of Montana and Washington State University went in search of the recipe for chick magnet appendages.
The team turned to beetles, to explore why some Japanese rhinoceros beetles only manage to produce a tiny stump of a hump, while others are endowed, with a horn of gargantuan proportions.
Why big is sexy
The researchers disturbed insulin-signalling pathways, in the beetles and measured the resulting horns.
The absence of insulin, virtually de-horned the male beetles, but had little impact on the size of the rest of their body.
The result suggests male advertisements, are highly dependent on insulin levels. Since insulin levels are highly dependent on how much food is being eaten, the advertisement is actually telling lady beetles……
“I am well made, got all the nutrients needed to grow big and beefy – so I have lots of strong, healthy little swimmers on board, you would be wise to pick me to be the father of your kids”.
The window for BIG is small
The research team discovered, that the big horn signalling happened quickly (over a 72 hour period), when the beetles were just grubs.
Not getting good nutrition early on…….. deprived the beetle of its “manhood”.
Ornaments in humans ?
- Rhino beetles have horns.
- Peacocks have tails.
- Kudus have antlers.
- Humans have………………
Unfortunately the ornament that insulin seems to create in humans, is a midriff DOME i.e. a BIG BELLY.
Yes, it does still signal that the individual has been well fed, maybe TOO WELL FED.
A dome of fat, tends to decrease testosterone levels and the odds of reproductive success.
Too much of a good thing
Insulin is released, in response to foods containing carbs and protein, especially carbs.
The excess is sugar, is turned into fat and channelled to the body’s storage cupboards i.e. fat cells for a rainy day.
A dome is not a chick magnet
An emancipated skinny bean pole look, is no turn on for the ladies, but neither is a BIG DOME.
To be a chick magnet, you need to ditch the dome – to do this, you need to keep your insulin levels in-check. Insulin pageA Mechanism of Extreme Growth and Reliable Signaling in Sexually Selected Ornaments and Weapons. Science (2012) 337 (6096): 860-864. Douglas J. Emlen, Ian A. Warren, Annika Johns, Ian Dworkin, and Laura Corley Lavine.
Interested in learning more about the chemistry behind those extra fat layers ?
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