Most human parents-to-be assume that the sex of their child comes down to a flip of the
chromosomal coin, with an equal chance of conceiving a boy or girl. But in reality,
the odds aren’t even – for every 100 girls born, the world gains about 106 baby boys.
Currently, that skewed sex ratio comes out to roughly 10 million more baby boys than
girls born worldwide each year. There are some countries where human meddling stacks
这个几率 使其对男孩来说更高 但那并没有解释
the odds even higher in favor of boys, but that doesn’t explain the fixed odds everywhere
else. The intrinsic boy/girl ratio is rigged by Mother Nature.
In fact, it’s even more rigged than birth rates show – human conception results in
about 150 male zygotes for every 100 females! But there’s a rather tragic reason for this
big biological boy-bias early on: male fetuses are much more likely to be miscarried or stillborn
than female fetuses, and boys that do make out of the womb suffer more fatal diseases,
take more mortal risks, and fall prey to more violence than girls. So by the time kids grow
up and reach baby-making age, the ratio of males to females is just about 1 to 1.
But the likelihood of a boy even making it to birth is also influenced by his mom’s
怀孕时生活环境的影响 例如 当一个大饥荒袭击了中国 在60年代早期
living conditions during pregnancy. For example, when a massive famine struck China in the
early 1960s, the relative likelihood of having a son suddenly dropped – until the famine
ended. And male Americans born to billionaires seem to have higher than average odds of fathering
sons. Somehow, female biology suppresses boys’ survival in the womb during tough times and
boosts it when times are good.
We’ve seen the same pattern in other mammals, too: when resources are scarce, mothers give
比正常的时候生出了更少的雄性 当资源充足时 她们生出了更多
birth to fewer males than normal; when resources are plentiful, they bear more.
The best explanation we have for this has to do with sex — the other kind. In biological
terms, the whole goal of copulation is to reproduce — to pass down your genes to someone
who will someday pass them on again. Female offspring are almost guaranteed to reproduce,
famine or no famine, because male mammals are pretty much always willing to mate. Males,
另一方面 雄性必须为了交配特权而争斗 ——一个营养足够的大个子
on the other hand, have to compete for mating privileges – a well-nurtured hunk has a good
chance of mating with lots of females, while a male weakened by famine might not score
So male offspring are a bigger risk in general – at all stages they’re more likely to
而即便他们活下来了 他们可能无法繁殖 但当过上好日子时 男孩
die, and even if they live they might not reproduce. But when times are good, boys potential
to father lots and lots of babies make them a biological risk worth taking.