Can Previous Mating Partners Influence The Traits Of Future Offspring?

Can Previous Mating Partners Influence The Traits Of Future Offspring?

Centuries ago, Aristotle proposed the concept of telegony, which suggests that the traits of offspring are not only influenced by their biological parents, but also by the mother’s former mates. This idea never really caught on with scientists, though, because it failed to generate much empirical support. Indeed, so little evidence has been found for it that some encyclopedic descriptions of telegony chalk it up to nothing more than “superstition.” However, a new study just published in the journal Ecology Letters provides some provocative experimental support for telegony and suggests that we may have been too quick to dismiss this idea

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