Sexual Dimorphism and Human Evolution Essay

2387 Words 10 Pages
The topic of gender differences must understandably be approached with caution in our modern world. Emotionally charged and fraught with ideas about political correctness, gender can be a difficult subject to address, particularly when discussed in correlation to behavior and social behavior. Throughout history, many people have strove to understand what makes men and women different. Until the modern era, this topic was generally left up to religious leaders and philosophers to discuss. However, with the acquisition of more specialized medical knowledge of human physiology and the advent of anthropology, we now know a great deal more about gender differences than at any other point in history. However, many of
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In humans, it has long been noted that there are certain physical differences between males and females. The obvious differences refer to the primary sexual characteristics such as genitalia and reproductive organs, but there are many secondary characteristics that also differentiate males and females. Many of these secondary characteristics, however, do not usually present

themselves notably in humans until after puberty (Frayer and Walpoff, 1985).
Among the more obvious of the secondary sexual characteristics is that males, when adequately nourished, tend to be physically larger in size than females. Rogers and Mukherjee (1992) present data that indicates that in most human societies, men are larger than women by roughly ten percent. However, when measuring individuals, size and weight are not always good markers to determine the degree of dimorphism. Both of these factors depend heavily on the quality of nutrition and health the individual has had access to in his or her lifetime. According to Frayer and
Wolpoff (1985), undernourished adolescent females will come closer to achieving their genetically defined height and weight than undernourished adolescent males. This means that a researcher must take care when studying the body size of individuals, as the environment may not allow for the expression of ideal size.
Other common skeletal

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