Re: how many bastards are there, anyway?

John Savage (
13 Aug 1996 21:25:43 +1000 (Lee Rudolph) writes:
>In brief, Diamond's claims are that "between 5 and 30 percent of
>American and British babies [have been] adulterously conceived",

This was discussed on a recent episode of the ABC Science Show, but
as so often happens, I'm afraid I paid less attention to the program
than it rightly deserves. Anyway, I think the ballpark figure they used
was that around 10% of children do not belong genetically to the man
they believe to be their father.

It was an incidental issue which arose out of a discussion of the
ramifications around a recent discovery that a boy's intelligence is
inherited from his mother, not from his father ... the gene for
intelligence (but don't ask me to define the term) having now apparently
been established as being carried on the X chromosome.

If I may condense it into a few words, it was basically this: a woman's
childbearing instinct is to successfully raise genetically sound offspring.
To this end, it's advantageous to her and her offspring that she choose a
husband according to criteria such as ability to provide, interest in
assisting with child rearing, reliability, and compatible personality. And
then the separate issue of choosing her child's genetic makeup is made
according to other criteria and values. Often, the two sets of desirable
qualities are, in her estimation, evidently not found in the same male.

It goes without saying that it's advantageous in the raising of her off-
spring that her companion be kept unaware that the child whose upbringing
he is contributing to carries not his genes but those of another. :-(

BTW, am I correct in saying that the only trait known to be carried on the
Y chromosome is a gene for hairy ears? If I'm completely off beam here,
what might I be confusing this with?

John Savage