In the 50 years since the discovery of the ZPA, Sonic hedgehog (Shh) has been identified as the ZPA factor and the basic components of the signaling pathway and many aspects of its regulation have been elucidated.Although much has also been learned about how it regulates growth, the mechanism by which Shh patterns the limb, how it acts to instruct digit ‘identity’, nevertheless remains an enigma.
It’s an appealing idea in many ways; it provides the gloss of an appeal to nature- it nicely coincides with the macro perception of human sexual interaction and provides justification for promiscuous male behavior and an explanation for hypergamous females. The narrative that men are naturally promiscuous (the better to ensure the survival of their genetic line) while women are naturally monogamous is the result of a cultural fallacy dating back as far as Charles Darwin; scientists and anthropologists of the time tended to use Western cultural morality as the prism through which they viewed natural discoveries – a problem that occasionally crops up today, as a matter of fact.The problem, unfortunately, is that the cultish worship of “alpha” is incredibly toxic, poisoning interactions between men and women and actually making it It’s tempting to ascribe behaviors to “nature” as a way to give the the gloss of authority and excuse one’s desires with “we’ll, this is just how it’s supposed to be, can’t do nuthin’ about it.” But if one is going to attempt this, it helps to actually understand what the real natural behavior is instead of making assumptions based on what we WANT to be true and ultimately begging the question.Evolutionary psychology is frequently used to justify certain behaviors in men and women, insisting that certain behaviors are not only natural but inevitable and thus are the way that things are supposed to be.According to this theory, it is therefore the natural order of things for men to spread their seed far and wide in hopes of impregnating as many women as possible.Meanwhile women must husbandto those males who exhibit the greatest level of genetic and sociable desirability: that is, men who not only exhibit exterior signs of health and fitness but who are also sufficiently “alpha”.Everything about humans from the size of our testicles to the shape of our pensises to the noises we make during sex is evolutionary testament to the fact that sexual exclusivity is attributed to nature.
(Worth noting: this narrative also doesn’t account for homosexuality.
Sexual relationships weren’t a question of monogamy or harem-like structures but polygynous and polyandrous.
Even amongst modern stone-age tribes, such as the ones in the Amazon and South-East Asia, parential lineage isn’t a strict binary; most believe in the concept of multiple fathers contributing to the creation of a child.
It’s not terribly surprising (to me) to see that the idea of “being alpha” is continuing to be tossed around as the end-all/be-all of dating; it’s a part of the DNA of men’s dating advice – the complaints of Nice Guys lamenting the popularity of assholes, nerds complaining about jocks getting all the girls and of course, the obsession in PUA circles with status games and “shit tests” – that is, acting in such a manner as to “test” a man’s status by trying to make him supplicate or otherwise disqualify a man from being a potential sexual partner.
More often than not, it gets mixed in with evolutionary psychology – the idea that men and women act a specific way because of evolution.
However, because of the need for protection as well as supporting the child until it reaches maturity, a woman may choose to pair up with a “beta” for material gain while sneaking off to have sex with the more desirable alpha males.