A couple of minorly perplexing stories about females of a couple of species. Let’s consider Homo sapiens first.

I’d never heard of Kara McCullough before this week. I imagine most of my readers outside the US had either, and even those that side of the Pond might have been living in blissful ignorance of her existence. You still might be if you have no interest in beauty pageants. Anyway, this week she was named Miss USA at some big bash in Vegas.

I don’t get why any intelligent woman would even countenance entering a beauty competition these days. It’s as if feminism never happened. However, there’s a twist.

I specified intelligent woman, and Ms McCullough seems to fit the description, working as she does for the US Nuclear Regulatory Committee. I suspect you don’t get your feet under a desk there without having a good number of working grey cells, though of course with TFF at the helm that might all change*. Currently Ms McCullough and her associates are looking at design changes to a facility that produces Mb-99 as a medical isotope.

She did however shoot herself in the foot a bit by stating that healthcare is a privilege, not a right. She also described herself, in a glaring statement of the bleeding obvious, as not a diehard feminist.

In a pleasing turn of events, it turns out she collects patterned socks. I get that.

Let’s turn our attention to entomology, specifically to the genus Drosophila or fruit flies. These are the annoying little bastards that dwell in your fruit bowl when you’r nanas have gone brown, and also are a major source of irritation in any pub where the hygiene standards are a bit lax.

According to the splendidly named Dr Stuart Wigby, when female fruit flies have had sex, they become much more aggressive to other female fruit flies, and start headbutting them. It’s a bit like Dunmow on a Saturday night.

Other changes involve rejection of male advances, and a loss of interest in sex. I suspect a few human males can relate to that scenario.

This really is another one of those bits of research that makes you go, ‘Why?’ That’s all right. It’s my kinda science. Then the man with the whimsical cognomen begins to get a bit philosophical.

‘If these behavioural changes occur in fruit flies, it is highly likely that they are happening in other insects.’

I foresee a long and fulfilling career for Dr Wigby, but I’m not sure I’d want to be next to him at a dinner party.

*Sam Clovis, TFF’s pick to head up the US Drug Administration, is a talkshow host with no scientific background.

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