Jim Foley (
5 Jul 1995 18:40:22 GMT

In article <3t9qh6$>, CCS909 <>

>I need help from someone. My background is not anthropology, but my sister
>is an undergrad anthro major. She remembers learning [at some point, she
>doesn't know where, she doesn't know when] the following situtation:
>In the animal kingdom, when an animal is infertile, it is because of
>defective DNA, weak genes, etc. Infertility is nature's way of keeping a
>species strong and alive. Infertility is all a part of natural selection
>and survival of the fittest. If an animal doesn't have a strong genetic
>makeup, nature won't allow it to reproduce.
>?1) Is this true?

I think this is somewhat misleading. Having bad genes doesn't cause
infertility, unless those genes are related to the reproductive system.
I would think most defective animals are just as fertile as their
healthier brethren, but because of their defect, are less likely to get
the chance to breed (either because they die young, or females snub
them, or whatever).

It is more accurate to say that "natural selection is nature's way of
keeping a species strong and alive". Infertility is not a mechanism by
which natural selection weeds out other problems; it is just a defect,
like being too small or too big or too weak, and it gets selected
against like all other defects.

>?3) If this is true, what are the implications of fertility treatments on
>the human race?

I feel on shaky ground here, but I would assume that it will cause the
number of people needing fertility treatment to increase. I won't even
try to guess whether this effect is large enough to be noticeable or

Jim (Chris) Foley,
Assoc. Prof. of Omphalic Envy Research interest:
Department of Anthropology Primitive hominids
University of Ediacara (Australopithecus creationistii)