Human sexuality talks come to local brewery


Cali Hunter

Those interested in the evolution of human sexuality can come and enjoy a scientific discussion alongside a craft beer this Thursday at the Ore Dock Brewing Company.

NMU biology professor Brent Graves will present the next Science on Tap event at the Ore Dock at 7 p.m on Feb. 9.

Graves, who has been teaching subjects such as evolution and behavioral ecology at NMU for 23 years, will focus mainly on sexual selection in humans for his presentation titled “Evolution of Human Sexuality: Forget Freud, Ask Darwin.”

Graves explained sexual selection as a “special case” of Darwin’s theory of natural selection, where individuals of a certain species search for traits that help them obtain mates. Usually Graves gears his research towards reptiles and amphibians but he said he wants to help the public understand sexual selection as it pertains to humans.

“I’m going to explain selection—and explain natural selection, and then I will apply some of those ideas to understanding why humans have some of the characteristics we do,” Graves said. “People take for granted a lot of characteristics that humans have.”

Graves also plans to address the effects that sexual selection can have on a species, many of which are not favorable in the long run.

“Very often, those traits actually decrease the probability of survival even though they increase the probability of getting mates,” he said.

Graves will provide examples of this effect throughout his presentation. He said one of the examples is the fact that males in a lot of species, not just humans, can be very aggressive in the process of sexual selection, which leads to fighting. The fights lead to serious injury or death, which does not increase the probability of survival. Graves hopes to educate people that simply dismiss evolution or just view it as being “survival of the fittest.”

“A lot of people reject evolution when they don’t even know what it is that they’re rejecting,” Graves said. He added, “Selection is one cause of evolutionary change, but there are many
others.” Graves also mentioned there will be a series of presentations that center around Charles Darwin and his evolutionary theories since Darwin’s birthday is in February.

A list of Graves’s scholarly publications can be found at

The Ore Dock Brewing Company is located at 114 W Spring St. and admission to Science On Tap is free and open to all ages of the public. More information about upcoming events can be found at or by calling the Ore Dock Brewing Company at 906-228-8888. The presentations are put together by the NMU chapter of Sigma Xi.