Daphne Fairbairn, author of Odd Couples: Extraordinary Differences Between the Sexes in the Animal Kingdom, completed a Q&A for National Geographic in which she covers some of the broader themes of the book. Check it out below!
Your spouse may baffle you at times, but does he latch on to your rear as a miniscule parasite 500,000 times smaller than you?
That’s what a male seadevil does. Is your honey 50 times your size and liable to eat you after a snuggle? Let’s hope not, else she’d be a garden spider.
e animal kingdom is full of amatory pairs whose extreme physical differences would give a matchmaker pause. But many of these dimorphic differences make good evolutionary sense, Daphne J. Fairbairn explains in her book Odd Couples: Extraordinary Differences between the Sexes in the Animal Kingdom.
National Geographic Senior Writer Rachel Hartigan Shea spoke with Fairbairn, a biologist at the University of California, Riverside, about why in nature, love isn’t always one size fits all.
Why are the differences between the sexes in some animals so extreme?
If you are coming into the world as a male, the way you get your genes into the next generation is getting your sperm to meet up with the eggs of females. So whatever it takes to do that is how the males are going to turn out. (Related Q&A: “Unlikely Animal Friendships.”)