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Which came first; male or female?

Daniel Gerber

Daniel Gerber, Don’t trust me, I have no idea what I’m talking about. But I use wikipedia.

Is this a joke question?

If not, I’d suggest that you trawl through some of the questions that explain how evolution works.  Or better yet, go to your local college book store and buy a high school biology text or an introductory college university text.

There was no first man and no first woman. T hat’s not how evolution works.  There was never a Homo erectus that gave birth to a Homo sapien, nor an australopithecine that gave birth to a Homo erectus, or whatever.  Evolution doesn’t work like that.  There was no first person.

If you’re talking about the evolution of sex at all, we don’t know which life forms first had sex.  Sex is so abundant in all life forms (even plants have sex – as in gender – you know?) that we assume it happened early on in evolution.   But when we find fossils of micro-organisms, how do we tell if they had sex or not?  We can’t analyse their DNA!

Even today some species (I think some types of fungus) that reproduce sexually but don’t have only two genders (they basically have thousands of “mating types” if I understand it correctly, but don’t trust me on this!)   The main point of sexual reproduction is to stop an individual procreating by itself, as that would to a lack of genetic diversity.  Some trees, I understand, have both male and female parts but then have complex morphological adaptations to prevent themselves from mating with themselves.

So it may be that the two sexes evolved from a sort of rationalisation of a kind of multi-sex system.  Why that might happen, I don’t know.  Or it may be that it evolved from two sort of different symbiotic populations.  Both of these would mean that there was no one first male and first female.  Either way, sexual reproduction was invented long ago, before the dinosaurs and definitely long before anything vaguely like humans came along. 

Indeed you can’t have a “first male” or a “first female” because when you’re talking about species so different than mammals, how do you define sex?  it’s not like a fern has a penis or a vagina, right?  So with the first sexually reproducing species, you could really only define them as “male” or “female” based on their differences from each other (indeed it would probably be more correct just to say that there were two sexes, rather than trying to say which one was male and which one was female).

So neither came first, because questions about “the first male” or “the first female” or “the first human” or “the first eukaryote” don’t really work in evolution.

Tejaswi Bitra

Tejaswi Bitra, Women and men are equal when you see with your eyes closed

There are theories mentioned in religious books like:
Genisis says that Adam was born first(on the 6th day) then Eve was born(on the 7th day) out of the lower rib bone of Adam.
Manu-Smriti mentions a similar Adam and Eve story but here the guy was called Manu.

I like to believe that women came into existence first.

Why do I think so?
Scientifically, life started from unicellular form. They reproduced by splitting themselves(cell division). Unicellular organisms primarily reproduced asexually.
When they evolved (into multi cellular higher beings like mammals) then they had to adapt to give birth to multicellular babies, which takes a lot of energy from the child bearing mother. Perhaps that is why there were males who came in as food gatherers and protectors while the females were in gestation.

So, for the survival of a species primarily depends on living organisms who can reproduce. If there were only men then the whole species would become extinct in one lifetime of that organism.

Debal Ray

Debal Ray, Studied biology at University

The pioneer species (and early successors) were one-celled organisms that reproduced by vegetative means. There were no sexual difference.

Sex originated much much later in course of evolution, that too very gradually. If we see primitive plants and fungi we can have an idea about origin of sexuality. Initially sexual reproduction involved fusion of two similar gametes (isogamy) produced by two different organisms, which were similar looking. In more advanced stage of evolution, one of the gamete become immobile and the other retained mobility (anisogamy). The distinction between the male and female gametes (in respect of size, nutrition content, mobility) became more and more pronounced as evolution proceeded. At some stage (oogamy), when female gamete is sufficiently large and immobile, it can be called egg and the plant/animal bearing it, a female. Similarly, the individual producing small, mobile and more numerous gametes is called male. There were no genetic basis of sexual differentiation and the male and female plants looked similar morphologically.

Satyam Thakür

Satyam ThakürAnswered

This question is quite similar to who came first egg or chicken??

Coming to your question neither came first. Rather there is no first human being. Cause if you look at a child and his father. What would you say child has evolved? Well off course not. Because child will be so much similar to it’s father. Evolution doesn’t occur in single generation step. It takes millions of years. So if you look at prehistoric life forms which were rather asexual reproducing, you will find that earlier organisms didn’t reproduce sexually. It has taken millions of years to perfect out these sexual system.

Lecta Orinosto

Lecta Orinosto, Mutation leads to diversity.

If you define men and women to be the male and female versions of humans, respectively, then both came at the same time. This is because there was no “first human”; rather, there was a population (a group) of primates who became more and more similar overall to modern humans. In order for the population to have survived it had to have had men and women at the same time.

Article source: Quora