A REAPPRAISAL OF BATEMAN'S CLASSIC STUDY OF INTRASEXUAL SELECTION

Authors

  • Brian F. Snyder,

    1. Institute of Ecology, 517 Biological Sciences Building, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602
    2. E-mail: snyderb@uga.edu
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  • Patricia Adair Gowaty

    1. Institute of Ecology, 517 Biological Sciences Building, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602
    2. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 621 Charles E. Young, Drive South, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1606
    3. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Unit 0948, APOAA, 34002-0948
    4. E-mail: gowaty@eeb.ucla.edu
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Abstract

Bateman's (1948) study showing greater variances in number of mates and reproductive success in male than female Drosophila melanogaster is a foundational paper in sexual selection. Here we show for the first time that his methods had flaws, including the elimination of genetic variance, sampling biases, miscalculations of fitness variances, statistical pseudo-replication, and selective presentation of data. We conclude that Bateman's results are unreliable, his conclusions are questionable, and his observed variances are similar to those expected under random mating. Despite our analysis, we do not intend this article as a criticism of Bateman; he accomplished his work without modern computational tools, and his approach was groundbreaking emphasizing the significance of fitness variance for sexual selection. However, this reanalysis has implications for what counts as evidence for sexual selection and we believe that our concerns should be of interest to contemporary students of sexual selection. We call for repetitions of Bateman's study using modern statistical and molecular methods.

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