full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Marlene Zuk: What we learn from insects' sex lives

Unscramble the Blue Letters

Now, I will miaitnan. and I think I can defend, what may seem like a surprising statement. I think sex in insects is more interesting than sex in people. (Laughter) And the wild vreatiy that we see makes us cgellhnae some of our own assumptions about what it means to be male and female. Of course, to start with, a lot of insects don't need to have sex at all to reproduce. Female adhips can make little, tiny clones of themselves without ever mating. Virgin birth, right there. On your rose bushes. (Laughter) When they do have sex, even their sperm is more ieettrnsnig than hmaun sperm. There are some kinds of fruit flies whose sperm is longer than the male's own body. And that's important because the males use their serpm to compete. Now, male insects do cepmtoe with wnoeaps, like the horns on these beetles. But they also compete after mintag with their sperm. Dragonflies and damselflies have penises that look kind of like Swiss Army knives with all of the attachments pulled out. (Laughter) They use these formidable devices like scoops, to remove the sperm from previous mleas that the female has mated with. (Laughter) So, what can we learn from this? (lugtaehr) All right, it is not a lesson in the sense of us imitating them or of them siettng an example for us to follow. Which, given this, is probably just as well. And also, did I mention sexual cannibalism is rampant among insects? So, no, that's not the point. But what I think insects do, is break a lot of the rules that we humans have about the sex roles. So, pelpoe have this idea that nature dictates kind of a 1950s sitcom version of what males and feaelms are like. So that males are always supposed to be dominant and aggressive, and females are passive and coy.

Open Cloze

Now, I will ________. and I think I can defend, what may seem like a surprising statement. I think sex in insects is more interesting than sex in people. (Laughter) And the wild _______ that we see makes us _________ some of our own assumptions about what it means to be male and female. Of course, to start with, a lot of insects don't need to have sex at all to reproduce. Female ______ can make little, tiny clones of themselves without ever mating. Virgin birth, right there. On your rose bushes. (Laughter) When they do have sex, even their sperm is more ___________ than _____ sperm. There are some kinds of fruit flies whose sperm is longer than the male's own body. And that's important because the males use their _____ to compete. Now, male insects do _______ with _______, like the horns on these beetles. But they also compete after ______ with their sperm. Dragonflies and damselflies have penises that look kind of like Swiss Army knives with all of the attachments pulled out. (Laughter) They use these formidable devices like scoops, to remove the sperm from previous _____ that the female has mated with. (Laughter) So, what can we learn from this? (________) All right, it is not a lesson in the sense of us imitating them or of them _______ an example for us to follow. Which, given this, is probably just as well. And also, did I mention sexual cannibalism is rampant among insects? So, no, that's not the point. But what I think insects do, is break a lot of the rules that we humans have about the sex roles. So, ______ have this idea that nature dictates kind of a 1950s sitcom version of what males and _______ are like. So that males are always supposed to be dominant and aggressive, and females are passive and coy.

Solution

  1. weapons
  2. females
  3. aphids
  4. compete
  5. males
  6. maintain
  7. variety
  8. people
  9. laughter
  10. human
  11. mating
  12. setting
  13. challenge
  14. sperm
  15. interesting

Original Text

Now, I will maintain. and I think I can defend, what may seem like a surprising statement. I think sex in insects is more interesting than sex in people. (Laughter) And the wild variety that we see makes us challenge some of our own assumptions about what it means to be male and female. Of course, to start with, a lot of insects don't need to have sex at all to reproduce. Female aphids can make little, tiny clones of themselves without ever mating. Virgin birth, right there. On your rose bushes. (Laughter) When they do have sex, even their sperm is more interesting than human sperm. There are some kinds of fruit flies whose sperm is longer than the male's own body. And that's important because the males use their sperm to compete. Now, male insects do compete with weapons, like the horns on these beetles. But they also compete after mating with their sperm. Dragonflies and damselflies have penises that look kind of like Swiss Army knives with all of the attachments pulled out. (Laughter) They use these formidable devices like scoops, to remove the sperm from previous males that the female has mated with. (Laughter) So, what can we learn from this? (Laughter) All right, it is not a lesson in the sense of us imitating them or of them setting an example for us to follow. Which, given this, is probably just as well. And also, did I mention sexual cannibalism is rampant among insects? So, no, that's not the point. But what I think insects do, is break a lot of the rules that we humans have about the sex roles. So, people have this idea that nature dictates kind of a 1950s sitcom version of what males and females are like. So that males are always supposed to be dominant and aggressive, and females are passive and coy.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
fruit flies 2
nuptial gifts 2
social insects 2
model system 2

Important Words

  1. aggressive
  2. aphids
  3. army
  4. assumptions
  5. attachments
  6. beetles
  7. birth
  8. body
  9. break
  10. bushes
  11. cannibalism
  12. challenge
  13. clones
  14. compete
  15. coy
  16. damselflies
  17. defend
  18. devices
  19. dictates
  20. dominant
  21. dragonflies
  22. female
  23. females
  24. flies
  25. follow
  26. formidable
  27. fruit
  28. horns
  29. human
  30. humans
  31. idea
  32. imitating
  33. important
  34. insects
  35. interesting
  36. kind
  37. kinds
  38. knives
  39. laughter
  40. learn
  41. lesson
  42. longer
  43. lot
  44. maintain
  45. male
  46. males
  47. mated
  48. mating
  49. means
  50. mention
  51. nature
  52. passive
  53. penises
  54. people
  55. point
  56. previous
  57. pulled
  58. rampant
  59. remove
  60. reproduce
  61. roles
  62. rose
  63. rules
  64. scoops
  65. sense
  66. setting
  67. sex
  68. sexual
  69. sitcom
  70. sperm
  71. start
  72. statement
  73. supposed
  74. surprising
  75. swiss
  76. tiny
  77. variety
  78. version
  79. virgin
  80. weapons
  81. wild