Last month I had the pleasure of writing a really fun essay about sexual dimorphism for Salon. The phrase refers to the degree to which males and females of a species are different. I offered a bunch of fun examples of strong dimorphism and imagined what humans would be like if we were like those animals.
Men would be 11 feet tall, for example, if we were as dimorphic as the elephant seal; they’d be the size of a walnut if we were like the blanket octopus. And don’t we all think that glistening iridescent skin, like the feathers on male birds, would make men more fabulously attractive? It’s a no-brainer.
In any case, coincidentally the New York Times put together an animated video about one of my favorite examples: the green spoonworm. The male spoonworm is very small compared to the female, equivalent to a human male being about the size of a breath mint. And he lives his entire life inside of the female’s digestive tract. Now that’s sexual dimorphism! Enjoy:Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.