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Trivers–Willard Hypothesis (wikipedia.org)
45 points by RedAlakazam 9 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 18 comments





This strongly suggests that in times of repose, women are pregnant with males, and in times of uncertainty and stress with females. Is this true in your experience?

Thinking of it like a forest, women are the trees that create further forest and more life. The tendency for the forest to wish to cover the landscape with greenery and trees is normal, and once the forest is flourishing the focus changes to romping and playing.

Tragically and ironically, the 1 child policy in China was likely quite destructive because it caused so much stress and anxiety, uncertainty, and therefore mammalian ladies were likely creating mainly females, which were discarded in favor of males -- seen as the more important choice in times of scarcity -- in clear cross-facing against the grain of nature as she appears to play it in such times, according to the suppositions and supports of the hypothesis.


I've also read a study that human couples with more symmetrical faces produce more daughters than sons.

Quick fact for everyone:

Billionaires have more sons, which is somewhat proof of this for humans


Even if that is true, given how easy it is for a billionaire to have an abortion if they don't want a daughter, and to make sure no one knows about it, I don't think it's proof of anything directly.

I don’t think people are preferentially aborting females to any appreciable degree in the west. Received wisdom is that boys are a pain in the ass to rear. And, anecdotally, most parents are interested in having one of each, not in having one particular sex over the other.

I suspect that received wisdom is highly culturally dependent. The received wisdom in my social circle (western US) is that girls are far more trouble than boys.

What is common in the public at large is not necessarily what is common in the subculture of old money families. Still, I am not necessarily claiming that this is happening, but it certainly seems more plausible than having some psycho-somatic path where wealthier women would give birth to more male offspring. Another even more plausible explanation is that the effect simply does not exist, that the data was not properly collected.

I think a more likely factor would be stopping after the first child if it's what you wanted, and trying for more if you really wanted the other.

But there's so many other confounding factors (e.g. do billionaire men have more testosterone, as either a cause or an effect of their success, do they have children when they are older but the mothers are younger and so on) that it offers no evidence on its own.


> I think a more likely factor would be stopping after the first child if it's what you wanted, and trying for more if you really wanted the other.

In my experience, the primary consideration for most couples is the number of children. Then, if they want more than one, they want one of each. For whatever my personal experience is worth (mostly with middle and upper-middle class Coastal urban people).


Wouldn’t readily available abortion be simply another mechanism by which female mammals could vary the gender of their offspring?

The hypothesis is mechanism-neutral though. ;)

I'd be interested in a citation, first thought which springs to mind is sample size and size of the bias.

Presumably it’s this study: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Elissa_Cameron/publicat...

It cited 60% male to female billionaire ratio on n of 350.

But, the methodology was to use google and Wikipedia for research so a more honest claim might be “male offspring of billionaires show up in search results more often.”

I suppose that factoid wouldn’t have been paid for by the publisher though.


Thinking more about my own comment, perhaps researchers expecting to find more male offspring while googling find male offspring more often!

Worth bearing in mind that the birth ratio is generally tilted towards boys, about 52.5%

Men with higher testosterone have more sons, maybe billionaires have more testosterone.

There aren't that many billionaires. How many more sons do they have, exactly?

Anecdotally, my parents had a son while under the financial support of both sets of my grandparents. Then 4 daughters while only supported by a single not quite middle class income. Then a 10 year gap and under the support of two middle class incomes had their second son.



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