Skip to comments.Sex biases in bird and mammal natural history collections
Posted on 10/28/2019 9:00:38 PM PDT by yesthatjallen
Natural history specimens are widely used across ecology, evolutionary biology and conservation. Although biological sex may influence all of these areas, it is often overlooked in large-scale studies using museum specimens.
If collections are biased towards one sex, studies may not be representative of the species. Here, we investigate sex ratios in over two million bird and mammal specimen records from five large international museums.
We found a slight bias towards males in birds (40% females) and mammals (48% females), but this varied among orders. The proportion of female specimens has not significantly changed in 130 years, but has decreased in species with showy male traits like colourful plumage and horns. Body size had little effect. Male bias was strongest in name-bearing types; only 27% of bird and 39% of mammal types were female. These results imply that previous studies may be impacted by undetected male bias, and vigilance is required when using specimen data, collecting new specimens and designating types.
Outside of humans, females are generally drab because they remain in place to care for their young and need to be camouflaged.
Males are flashy to attract mates. It also makes them obvious targets.
Males, being brightly colored and with unique patters, on display makes sense.
The ‘bosses’ of these museums aren’t exactly experts on anything but they can note emphasis of color, and if bird X is more colorful than bird Y, then that’s the one on display.
None of this should really matter. It’s like asking yourself....do you prefer the burger-flipper to be male instead of female, or the fry-boss be female?
We found a slight bias towards males in birds (40% females) and mammals (48% females), but this varied among orders. The proportion of female specimens has not significantly changed in 130 years, but has decreased in species with showy male traits like colourful plumage and horns. Body size had little effect. Male bias was strongest in name-bearing types; only 27% of bird and 39% of mammal types were female.
The only detectable bias is in the political agenda of the nitwits who authored the "research". Thanks yesthatjallen.
Maybe the males were just easier to catch. Did they ever think of that?
Color, size, and in mammals it might be horns. The females hide in the bird kingdom. The females in predators can be the hunters but males usually dominate. Hunt elk and a cow generally leads the herd and a bull travels along keeping his harem together. I figure the collectors of the specimens got what they could and didnt worry about human idiocy from the future. JMO
How in hell did these people get funding to study this?
How in hell did these people get funding to study this?
“There are probably unlimited funds to study bias.”
Or to manufacture it.
I agree with your question but why and what is the use of this study. Im just a country boy, been tracking around in the hills for the last 60 years. I liked to read (moms fault) and grew up with dogs, cats, hogs, cows, and horses. Hunted about everything in North America. The prey animals have their eyes positioned differently than predators. You flash to much you arent around long. Theyre looking for a talking point. I watched Frank Bucks bring them back alive and Mutual of Omahas wild kingdom, and the animals Ive raised and hunted. Also the humans, we are animals too. Ominivors, but we are first and foremost predators. This was a waste of somebodys money.
“This was a waste of somebodys money.”
Agree. But as long as they get a publication, the authors don’t care whose money it is.
Im sure its true but Im not a scholar, I just know a thing or two because Ive seen a thing or two. This is crap by idiots for idiots that have never watched the animals they have on display do what they do or tried to figure out why. I still do and now I study the human animal more. All have flaws but humans are more dangerous than the animals they pretend to study. Self serving scientists suck.
perhaps there are more male specimens because scientists understood that limiting taking of the female of the species is important to preservation of the species overall. Same as prehistoric through modern age hunters go after male mooses instead of female mooses. Social engineers probably don’t like to think about that, tho, since it validates females as a distinct and essential part of life and not just a ‘construct’.
Perhaps males are easier to catch.
Diversity and inequality comes to million year old dead fossils, story at 11
It is also the case that when the nest is threatened, it is the brightly plumaged male that calls attention to himself to distract the "predator" (natural science specimen collector) and draw them away from his mate and offspring.
The "bias" is totally "natural", and is one of good old Mom Nature's rules of conduct.
Hey, it’s sexist that only male specimens are walking into our animal traps.
Just another “research” project funded by the American taxpayer for skewed data to look like females are the victim. What a crock of schiff.
Per the publisher’s website: It’s government funding.
That explains a lot.
I seriously have to wonder what kinds of studies are impacted by this “gender bias.” Does it really matter how many females are included, as long as the sample size is statistically significant? In the medical research field, females are very often omitted from animal studies, for a number of reasons. Then there is the researcher who only studies females because everyone else wants the males, making females plentiful.
Scientists, at least, do not attribute gender as a social construct. There are real biological differences, which do affect study outcomes (in a way that oversampling of males in collections of dead animals does not).
Collections = large numbers of DEAD birds. More DEAD MALE birds than female.
The “researchers” are killing more MALE birds than female! This is absolutely unfair bias!
I swear, half the world is already insane and is begging the other half to join it.
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