Evolution of a sex ratio observed

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y_the_last_man.jpg

If you've been reading that fascinating graphic novel, Y: The Last Man(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll), you know the premise: a mysterious disease has swept over the planet and bloodily killed every male mammal except two, a human named Yorick and a monkey named Ampersand. Substantial parts of it are biologically nearly impossible: the wide cross-species susceptibility, the near instantaneous lethality, and the simultaneity of its effect everywhere (there are also all kinds of weird correlations with other sort of magical putative causes, which may be red herrings). On the other hand, the sociological part of the story seems very plausible. There is no feminist utopia, the world goes on in a traumatized and rather complicated way, and the reactions everywhere vary from crazed euphoria to a more common despair. One thing that isn't at all implausible, and actually has been observed, is a plague that selectively exterminates males.

Continue reading "Evolution of a sex ratio observed" (on Pharyngula)

2 Comments

I haven’t read the novel, so I’m interested in how it deals with the millions of women in the world who are currently pregnant with male fetuses. Do they also die?

This book sounds like every guy’s favorite fantasy. I’m pretty sure I would be up to the task of repopulating the earth.

The male fetuses are gone too, as I remember.

And no, it isn’t a male fantasy story at all. There are deranged women who are glad the men are dead and want to make sure all of them are gone; there are government agencies who want to lock him in a lab; he has to go in disguise everywhere because if he’s spotted, he’s likely to provoke a hysterical reaction. It’s a very complicated story.

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This page contains a single entry by PZ Myers published on July 13, 2007 12:18 PM.

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