In This Chapter

^ Understanding why sex is poorly understood ^ Balancing the costs and benefits of sex ^ Fighting for (or preening for) a mate ^ Recognizing potential conflicts between the sexes

£volutionary biologists spend a fair bit of time thinking about sex, and in this chapter, you find out what it is, exactly, that they're thinking about. The evolutionary biology of sex encompasses several areas that can be conveniently broken down into the following major topics:

1 How does the added complication of mating affect the process of evolution in sexual species?

1 Why have two sexes, and what's the optimum male-to-female ratio?

1 Why have sex at all?

Just as this chapter covers a range of topics, it also illustrates a range in scientists' understanding of these topics. The evolution of sex is a hot area of research, and knowledge is growing rapidly. In some cases, researchers are confident that they understand what they see in nature; in other cases, they're not. In this chapter, I tell you what scientists know and what they're not yet sure of. As always, I continue to introduce you to the data and experiments that shape current understanding.

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