Tag Archives: puzzles

Why Are There Two Sexes?

Sex is one of the greatest mysteries in biology. Why on earth do most large complex animals have two sexes? Asexual reproduction can efficiently produce twice as many offspring as sexual reproduction without the complications of finding and courting a mate. There must be major benefits to having two sexes, but if so, why shouldn’t three sexes be even better? Isaac Asimov explored this complicated scenario in his 1972 Nebula Award-winning novel “The Gods Themselves,” and he wasn’t the only science fiction writer to do so. Is there some reason why three is definitely a crowd?

Many biological hypotheses have been proposed to explain the mystery. In this column, we’ll approach the system from a different point of view: Are there any interesting mathematical principles that … Read the rest