“We thought this design would be effective”.
The draftsman pushed the prototype across the desk to the panel.
“Similar species with prolonged immaturity have a heat cycle of approximately 10 years to allow the mother to raise one child to a degree of self-sufficiency, free from male sexual demands”.
“You mean, sex once every 10 years?” One of the panel queried. “No good”, and he pushed the prototype back.
Another draftsman coughed softly and gently pushed his prototype forward.
“We took into account your policy statement that the males would take no part in child raising. In view of the particularly demanding nature of the young I have proposed that the young be raised collectively by groups of mothers. As this is a social species who work, hunt, food gather and live in groups, this would fit in the normal social pattern”.
The panel briefly conferred.
“And this would mean collective protection of the young by the mothers?” one of the panel queried.
“Yes. This deals both with the needs of the mothers for help and results in a high level of protection for the young”.
“No good” the first panel member stated, pushing the proto back to the draftsman.
“But why? It meets all your requirements”.
“If the females band collectively to protect the young, they might extend that to banding collectively to obstruct male sexual advances. This has been observed in other species. Next”.
The third draftsman hesitated before pushing his prototype before the panel.
“We had a bit of difficulty with your requirement to maximise intelligence. The needed circumference of the head at birth creates a high incidence of death and injury to the mother and child. We suggest the female bodies are scaled up accordingly so that the young are a proportionate size”.
A ripple of laughter ran through the panel. With a deliberately straight face one said, “You are suggesting that the females should be bigger than the males?”
“And more muscular. Their bodies have to carry a substantial weight unlike the males who only have to carry ……”
His voice trailed off at the expressions on the panel’s faces.
“And” he desperately continued, “when you consider the size of infants to a mature female gorilla…”
The rest of his statement was swamped by gales of laughter from the panel. With a wave of his hand the first panelist dismissed him.
“In fact you are all dismissed. Bring in the next candidates”.
The draftsmen sloped from the room and three bright-faced graduate recruits trooped in.
“This is your assignment. We require a design for the females of this species. We want maximum intelligence and maximum sex. The males will take no part in the raising of the young. Any questions?”
“Maximum sex. Won’t this amplify the danger to the females and their young and subject both to continuous ongoing harassment?”
“It will – and your point is?”
“Well, I …”
“Maximum sex means maximum young. That means the females and young can experience a high attrition rate without endangering the survival of the species”.
The students quietly considered this.
One spoke hesitantly. “Maximum reproduction means abandoning a heat cycle and having continuous fertility. This will mean frequent sloughing of the uterine lining a process repugnant to both the males and females”.
The panelist nodded. “The males can avoid the females when they are undergoing the process. Their reward is continuous access to sex”.
“But why?” asked one student. “Why do you want maximum reproduction and maximum sex. You have designed for intelligence. Why would you want an intelligent species to spend more time on animal activities than even animals do, when they are equipped to do so much else – science, technology and arts?”
A member of the panel who had remained silent up till then answered.
“So we can throw away the people we don’t want and there is a fortune to be made out of sex”.
Copyright conartistocracy, September 2017