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Topic: Why not a litter?

From: Why not a litter?
Location:
Date: 12/22/2006

This is generally about procreation, rather than specifically any of your books:

I was looking at some pictures of polar bears. Whether lying down, though particularly when walking upright, they seem very...human in form. And I very quickly thought through evolution, species relation, and bearing young. Which led me to: many animals - quadrupeds, in particular - have many offspring in one session. Humans can have twins, triplets, etc....why isn't this considered a litter?...and, more importantly, why are humans divergent in this biological aspect?

Re: Why not a litter?

From: Greg Bear
Date: 12/22/2006

Interesting question. Humans rarely have more than three, naturally; bears can have two, more typically--but I defer to the experts on this question. Any answers? As for why they're not called litters, that seems a question of tone, no? (And as for Komodo dragons and virgin birth, a news story recently, my son, Erik, did his research and informs me that female reptiles carry both sex chromosomes, males only only male chromosomes. Like birds. So virgin births from a female can produce both males and females in a litter--oops, nest!

Re: Why not a litter?

From: patrick
Location:
Date: 12/24/2006

This causes me to think a bit outside: there are some who believe humans are a mix of terrestrial and non-terrestrial creatures. If such were the case, then perhaps the male carrying the sex determinator was programmed in....that the male originally could decide on the sex of the offspring. The almost ultimate male power thing, mmm? Unless one believes, as I do, that both genders have the potential to control their bodies, determining by sheer will whether pregnancy will occur (in the female, fertilisation; in the male, the release of sperm, regardless of ejaculation - this latter of which I have experience in, and the former have observed).

Re: Why not a litter?

From: Greg Bear
Date: 12/24/2006

Interesting possibilities, but it begs the question: why? Maybe we're just the sexual equivalent for aliens of a game system--an XBox 360, say, which does sound like the name of a chromosome--but a female one!

Sheer will--is that like a sheer negligee?

Re: Why not a litter?

From: ryan costa
Location: cleveland, ohio
Date: 01/01/2007

Reproductive biology has played a strong part in our culture or psychology. If people regularly had 3 or more kids at a time, we would probably be much more warlike or brutal. This would mean outright war, ritual lethal combat, or infanticide/child-cide.

The politics of the war of the sexes would also be much different if women were only fertile once or twice a year.

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