Fisherian runaway describes how female sexual selection of sexually dimorphic traits in males can lead to exaggerated and maladaptive traits in males. For example, these traits often lead to male health problems and sometimes the destruction of the entire species. The name derives from the originator of the concept Ronald Fisher, the 20th century British statistician, geneticist, eugenicist and racialist.
For example, in peafowl, the males evolved to have extremely large plumage, most likely due to persistent female preference for for large plumage. However, this preference the peahens have for large sex differences has caused the peacocks plumage to become absurdly large, hindering it’s mobility to evade predators. Also, requiring a lot of energy to grow and maintain said plumage.
Sabre Tooth Tigers
It has been hypothesised that fisherian runaway selection contributed to the demise of the Sabre-tooth Tiger, by which female Sabre-tooths preference for males with long fangs resulted in a fisherian runaway occuring, which led to the Tigers teeth becoming so large they became a liability, hampering the beasts ability to feed itself, and most likely led to frequent infections from the brittle, comically large teeth breaking.
The irish elk is known to have gone extinct from female selection giving way to fisherian runaway. The female irish elk preferred male irish elk with large horns. Eventually this preference created a feedback loop that resulted in irish elk eventually evolving to carry 3.6 meter wide horns, one meter longer than its height. Energy requirements for irish elk antler growth were 75% as large as the energy requirements for fat and protein deposition. The enormous amount of calcium required to grow the antlers resulted the calcium being depleted from most of the body causing a state like similar to osteoporosis. The adaptive trait in irish elk became maladaptive and the species died out.
Many men in the MRA hypothesize that the increasingly dimorphic beauty standards that men are expected to have just to get a date in a sexually liberated online dating environment may be the beginning of a fisherian runaway. Only a very small percentage of men are being chosen, and it’s the men with the most sexually dimorphic traits: cartoonishly large muscles, cartoonishly large frame, with no selective attention paid to things like loyalty, intelligence, etc.
This also results in an even higher competitive environment among men without physically sexually dimporhic traits, and men with dark triad traits getting even more to win female attention, exaggerating a trait which arguably became maladaptive after civilization and the industrial revolution.
Men’s rights activist Warren Farrell warned of such a thing in 1993, in his book, The Myth of Male Power, warning women that their preference for and encouragement of, “hunter-killer”, “star quarterback”, type men could cause the extinction of the human race with the arrival of nuclear technology. He also claimed that since civilization and the industrial revolution dark triad traits have become maladaptive, as the traits which foster a healthy society have switched from might-makes-right individual brutality, to cooperation, intelligence, empathy etc.
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