Not me. You.
For some species, females select the most attractive males to mate with: female peacocks will choose males with the longest tail feathers—the peacock version of George Clooney. These more attractive features usually indicate some other level of genetic fitness, such as disease resistance, that the female’s offspring will then also inherit.
According to this method of sexual selection, if females only bred with the most attractive males, then all males should be equally attractive and sexual selection could not take place. (In the peacocks’ case, all males would have similarly long tails.) But clearly this isn’t the case: for every Johnny Depp out there, there’s a George Costanza—in humans, birds and other animals alike.
This so-called “lek paradox” (a lek is a group of males congregated for mating) has plagued evolutionary biologists for decades.
Turns out there’s a correlation between how attractive males are and how diverse their disease-fighting genes are (to stay one step ahead of evolving viruses), and how diverse those disease-fighting genes are depends in part on the male having a high individual rate of genetic mutation. That rate gets passed on to his offspring, so you end up with a bunch of toddlers prone to mutation — and not always in the direction of Brad Pitt. So even if the ladies lined up for the big A, a lot of my kids would still be fugly. Heh.
At least, I think that’s what the article’s saying. Here, enjoy this cartoon demonstration. I used to think Matt Groening created “The Simpsons” but then I read a book that changed my life…