An odd hypothesis on women

It is accepted that the more complicated an organism is, the longer it takes it to mature. Insects mature in a matter of days, a dog matures in a year, and humans (well most) mature in a couple decades.

It seems a consensus that girls mature faster than boys. Does this suggest that women are not as “complicated” (I can’t think of a better term) as men?

Have there been studies on this, or am I just gonna get flamed?


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I’m not sure how accepted it is that more complex organisms take longer to mature… how does one explain the 17-year locust in that context?

As fetuses, everyone starts out with female genitalia. Males then start to change as the testosterone kicks in. Thus, women have an advantage on us, developing their genitalia in the womb.
One could also make the argument that the female is more “complicated” since there are distinct openings for reproduction and liquid waste in women but in men it all comes out from the same place.


“[He] beat his fist down upon the table and hurt his hand and became so
further enraged… that he beat his fist down upon the table even harder and
hurt his hand some more.” – Joseph Heller’s Catch-22

That didn’t sound right, did it? What I meant was that women start out with the right genitalia but men only develop male genitalia after a few months in the womb.


“[He] beat his fist down upon the table and hurt his hand and became so
further enraged… that he beat his fist down upon the table even harder and
hurt his hand some more.” – Joseph Heller’s Catch-22

Ok, now… we have here three doors… Behind two of the doors are genitalia, one male, one female. Behind the third is a goat…

Aren’t you missing something here? You are talking absolute time, not relative. Yes, a dog “matures” in about a year, but then again, it only lives less than two decades as an average.

Now, you have to define maturity. Are you referring to sexual maturity?

And last, aren’t you REALLY trying to say that men are a more complicated (as in more developed) organism? At least that’s what it seemed to me… :wink:

Men will cease to commit atrocities only when they cease to believe absurdities.
-Voltaire

Well, actually, since woman is the basic model, and man is a variation on a theme, I suppose you could say that men are more “complicated,” but I don’t think that’s exactly the right word.

However, it is the reason that girls mature in utero faster than boys. A six-week-old baby boy is the developmental equal of a newborn girl. This is why more boys die right after birth, and more boys are born with problems related to being underdeveloped.

It’s probably also the reason that girls reach baby and toddler milestones, on average, a few weeks before boys do.

I don’t know if this carries on through to adolescence, however. There’s probably another reason for girls hitting puberty, on average, sooner than boys, like the fact that girls and boys are the same heights-- or rather, there’s no average difference-- before puberty, but boys are taller after. Boys probably need to put some time and energy into that growth spurt, and that delays their puberty.

I think “complictaed” is the wrong word to describe this. Here’s why: men have just 98% of the genetic material women have. This is because women have two X chromosomes where men have an X and a Y, and the X is substantially larger than the Y.


–Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

>>As fetuses, everyone starts out with female genitalia.<<

This is incorrect. Yes, I know that’s what they said in Jurassic Park, but they were wrong. Everyone starts out with no sexually differentiated tissue (no differentiated tissue at all, for that matter), and then both male and female sex tissue developes (note that sex tissue is not synonymous with germ cells).

>>Males then start to change as the testosterone kicks in.<<

This is highly misleading. Developement of the sex organs leads to differentiation away from a median. The proper balance of hormones (many many hormones, none of which are exclusive to either sex) leads either one or the other set of sex tissues to develop fully. The other set either becomes insignificant as the rest of the body grows, or is destroyed by programmed cell death.

>>Thus, women have an advantage on us, developing their genitalia in the womb.<<

Sexual tissue development actually takes place at a comparable rate.

>>One could also make the argument that the female is more “complicated” since there are distinct openings for reproduction and liquid waste in women but in men it all comes out from the same place.<<

There are distinct external openings for reproduction and waste in the female, which are not present in the male. There are distinct openings for reproduction and waste in both sexes. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

-Bob

>>Well, actually, since woman is the basic model, and man is a variation on a theme, I suppose you could say that men are more “complicated,” but I don’t think that’s exactly the right word.<<

But males are not simply a variation on females. There is no point in the fossil record that you can point to, where males developed from females. Prior to sexual dimorphism, there is no male or female. Both male and female are variations on hermaphroditic ancestors. Neither decended without modification.

<snip>
>>I think “complictaed” is the wrong word to describe this. Here’s why: men have just 98% of the genetic material women have. This is because women have two X chromosomes where men have an X and a Y, and the X is substantially larger than the Y.<<

This is highly misleading. Males actually possess more active genetic material than females. In any multiple X cell, all but one X will be inactivated during early development. This is necessary because many gene products must be produced within a specific dosage range, and would not provide proper functioning if their dosage was doubled. Both the X and Y are active in the male genome.

The size of the genome, it should also be noted, is not a good indicator of an organism’s complexity. This is especially true when you referring to variation in the number of copies of a specific organism.

-Bob

It’s also a fundamental error to generalize differences across groups to differences within groups (or vice versa). Across species, those who mature more slowly might be considered more complex (although I would bet there are animals who mature more slowly than humans–like elephants, maybe.) However, within a species, individuals who mature more slowly are usually called “developmentally delayed.”

A request for clarification: I thought part of the reason for increased male mortality was their lack of redundancy in the sex chromosomes, which makes them more vulnerable to X-chromosome linked genetic disorders. Is this untrue?

My theory on this subject does not have as much to do with genetics as it does with instinct.

Animals mature faster than humans because they rely more on instinct; there is less that they have to learn. Humans operate largely on learned knowledge, thus evolution has provided us with lengthy childhoods.

If we can expand on this, the reason women mature more quickly than men is that women tend to be more instinctual. Regardless of whether this instinct is biological or comes from their environment (i.e. they are instinctual because they are expected to be instinctual), they reach a point of maturity more quickly.

But, hey, it’s just a theory! What the hell do I know? I’m in my mid-30’s and I’m still trying to figure out this maturity thing.


“The day after tomorrow is the third day of the rest of your life.” -George Carlin

>>A request for clarification: I thought part of the reason for increased male mortality was their lack of redundancy in the sex chromosomes, which makes them more vulnerable to X-chromosome linked genetic disorders. Is this untrue?<<

It’s absolutely true. Remember that the same X isn’t inactivated in every cell. Many gene products, however, are exported from the cells. Females can therefore show an outward expression of the working X-linked gene, even if it isn’t working right in half the cells.

Really though, I’m quite surprised that no one has hit on the correct answer yet. Come on, folks, I know you can get this one. What do organisms that mature at similar rates have in common, a few exceptions aside? It’s not complexity…

-Bob

My 2 cents worth.

As the comedian Rondell Sheridan (hope I spelled that right) said, “Women think men are complex. Men are just 2 eyes and a penis, we are not complex.”

Nuff said.

Jeffery

>>My theory on this subject does not have as much to do with genetics as it does with instinct.

Animals mature faster than humans because they rely more on instinct; there is less that they have to learn. Humans operate
largely on learned knowledge, thus evolution has provided us with lengthy childhoods.<<

Umm, not quite.

Humans have long childhoods because we’re born neurogically underdeveloped. The reason we’re born neurologically underdeveloped, is that in order to have the big brains we’ve evolved, we need heads that are impossibly big for birth.

A newborn kitten is approximally the neurological equivalent of a two-and-a-half year old human. We couldn’t possibly be born with the heads of two-and-a-half year olds.

Especially with the pelvises that we evolved for walking upright.

There’s other evidence (the fossil record, for one), but from the birthing considerations alone, we could know that human bi-pedalism evolved before big brains.

Interesting, as we grew our big brains, our pelvises actually “devolved,” just a little, from what would be ideal for bi-pedalism. Australopithecines were better walkers than we are.

Anyway, we evolved to be born in a semi-fetal state, with neurological development continuing for a long time after birth. This is what infancy is for.

In fact, human infancy is probably closer to marsupials’ “pouch incubation” than to the post-partum period of any other placental mammal.


–Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

Ya shoulda went with brain size Beeruser. A woman’s brain weighs 32oz and a mans 36oz, thus they have less brain to mature.

Actually, were you talking about physical or mental maturity? Men reach mental maturity about, oh, twice as later as women isn’t it?

speaking of male vs. female brains, I found this to be rather humourous:
A man and his wife had a very sick child who needed to undergo a brain transplant. The doctor was greived to inform them of this, but he then had to somehow bring up their options and prices. He informed them that they could either purchase a male’s brain for the transplant or a female’s brain. The male brain, informed the doctor, would cost $16,000.00 dollars- while a female’s would cost only $12,000.00. Stunned, the parents asked for an explanation for the price difference. The doctor stood and matter-of-factly began speaking, “You and I both know that used things are always considerably cheaper…” :slight_smile:

tipi :slight_smile:

Yeah, male brains are bigger-- ON AVERAGE. Their whole freakin’ bodies are bigger ON AVERAGE. They have MORE MOTOR NEURONS. Doesn’t help them balance the checkbook or compose a sonnet.

Grrr.


–Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

Inserting little can’t-we-get-along complaint here:

Noah Webster was asked which were more intelligent, men or women. He said, “Which man and which woman?”

I was strictly talking mental maturity here, handy. And yeah, female brains are smaller, but they have more neural connections.

Say, this is off topic, but where can I meet a really smart girl? Smart girls turn me on…


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