I give my undergraduate evolution class this example of the differences in reproductive potential between human males and females—a difference seen in many animal species, and one that’s certainly the physiological basis for sexual selection and sexual dimorphism (the difference in appearance or behavior between males and females of a species).
I found these data in the Guinness Book of World Records years ago, but they’re confirmed by a fascinating site on human reproductive records that bears some perusal.
Most natural children born by a woman. I always have my students guess this, and they always guess way too low:
One of the most stunning records in history can go to one very fertile Russian woman who gave natural birth to sixty nine children without the use of fertility aids! The children were all born between 1725-1765. In twenty-seven pregnancies Mrs. Vassilet gave birth to sixteen sets of twins, seven…
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