Meeting Abstract

S4-2  Sunday, Jan. 5 08:00 - 08:30  Misconceptions about Conception and Other Fallacies: Historical Bias in Reproductive Biology HAYSSEN, V; Smith College, Northampton, MA

The #meToo movement is a current social meme whose tendrils have not quite crept into our understanding of organismal physiology, behavior, and evolution. But the time has come to do so. For instance, although most consider polar bears solitary, female polar bears live nearly all their lives in the company of their offspring. Female polar bears have constant social interactions with their cubs and their interactions with their environment are as a social group not as an individual. How they hunt, how far they roam, how they thermoregulate, how much they are exposed to pathogens, how much they need to scan the environment for predators, all these aspects of their lives differ from those of a solitary individual. So, why are polar bears usually considered solitary? Why do we devalue the importance of reproduction in our assessment of the biology and ecology of animals? I will provide a brief review of the historical bias in reproductive science, the consequences of that bias, and, more importantly, ways to ameliorate that bias going forward.