Sex & Society » History, Men, Sexuality: "Oh, You Sexy Lizard!"

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Oh, You Sexy Lizard!

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Contemplating a world without men ...

  Mighty Mouse

Of course not. “Men Become Endangered,” would really liven up the headlines but it’s unlikely to happen. A mammalian virgin birth only ever happened once. No, not in Bethlehem. What am I, Linus Van Pelt? It was in a lab in Japan and it produced an adorable little mouse named Kaguya.

Kaguya, the "fatherless mouse"

Kaguya was not the product of the usual blend of eggs-and-sperm (there’s a Monty Python joke in there somewhere) but of two eggs, one of which was from a newborn mouse, and thus, immature enough that two genes of its genes could be manipulated into simulating a paternal contribution. The team at the Tokyo University of Agriculture started with 457 of these dual-egg combinations. Of these, 371 became blastocycts, which were implanted in females. Ten survived through gestation. Two survived outside the womb. Only one, Kaguya, lived to adulthood and reproduced naturally.

That is a lot to go through for a virgin birth so it seems unlikely that this would just start to happen willy-nilly in mammals.

Every once in awhile though, a wave of men-going-extinct stories comes along. The National Geographic piece on Kaguya was headlined: “The End of Males?” Mouse Made to Reproduce Without Sperm” though it was one surviving mouse out of hundreds.

“Will End of Men Be Imminent? Y Chromosome Rapidly Losing Genes,” was ABC News’s bid in a 2009 story about the deteriorating Y (male) chromosome, which now has only 80 genes to its X (female) partner’s 1,000.

Alarming…until you read that genetic alternations are not only normal, but beneficial and that “evolution is weighted toward survival,” making it unlikely that men will ever take their balls and go home. In 2004, it was NPR’s As Y Chromosome Shrinks End of Men Pondered. The pondering went thus: Could happen. Probably won’t.

Theoretically women probably could do without men. There’s probably enough deposits in sperm banks the world over to repopulate the earth via turkey baster for awhile, so when you come down to brass tacks we could do it. But would we want to?

Okay, some of you said yes, but remember that that would include your gay male friends.

Okay, some still said yes, but really, we’ve had sperm banks and turkey basters for years.
We could have done it already if we wanted to, which must mean we don’t.

Most things that make life worth living are unnecessary. People survived before chocolate, movies, Earth, Wind and Fire (the band not the elements), spicy Bloody Marys and a billion other things, but life probably sucked.

We could go on without men… Men, with their sexy tree-trunk legs and perfect penises and their ability to bend time with one long, slow naked kiss, but what would be the point? There’s surviving, and then there’s living. If manlessness is where the Darwinian ride is taking us, start the evolution without me.

Those lizards have an amazing story. But damn…they have no idea what they’re missing.


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