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Thread: Lower male voices linked to lower sperm quality

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    Post Lower male voices linked to lower sperm quality



    PLoS ONE released a study by Simmons et al. from the Centre for Evolutionary Biology of the University of Western Australia . Here is the abstract :

    Low Pitched Voices Are Perceived as Masculine and Attractive but Do They Predict Semen Quality in Men?

    Women find masculinity in men's faces, bodies, and voices attractive, and women's preferences for men's masculine features are thought to be biological adaptations for finding a high quality mate. Fertility is an important aspect of mate quality. Here we test the phenotype-linked fertility hypothesis, which proposes that male secondary sexual characters are positively related to semen quality, allowing females to obtain direct benefits from mate choice. Specifically, we examined women's preferences for men's voice pitch, and its relationship with men's semen quality. Consistent with previous voice research, women judged lower pitched voices as more masculine and more attractive. However men with lower pitched voices did not have better semen quality. On the contrary, men whose voices were rated as more attractive tended to have lower concentrations of sperm in their ejaculate. These data are more consistent with a trade off between sperm production and male investment in competing for and attracting females, than with the phenotype-linked fertility hypothesis.



    We can't get it all. Bald men are perceived by most women as less attractive, but they tend to have higher testosterone levels, and therefore probably better sperm quality too. Isn't it ironic that females are attracted to the very traits that lower sperm count ? Is that an evolutionary way to keep the balance between the various male phenotypes, or is it a natural desire of women to increase the likelihood of conceiving girls rather than boys (a lower sperm count increases the gender bias in favour of female offspring) and therefore passing two X chromosomes instead of one ? Could the X chromosome influence the way women perceive attractiveness for its own selfish purposes ? The evolutionary battle between and X and Y chromosomes is a real one.

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    Male fertility is determined in great part by the Y-chromosome (it is so-to-say its only function besides sex-determination and phenotypical male characteristics). If voice pitch is directly linked to male fertility, it would make sense that voice pitch should be determined too by a gene or genes on the Y chromosome, though not necessarily the same. After all the only reason men get deeper voice than women is because they have a Y chromosome than women lack. All male phenotypical characteristics can be traced back to Y-DNA. Consequently, there is a real possibility that some Y-DNA haplogroups be linked to higher or lower voice pitches as well. I would think that mutations affecting male phenotypes don't happen all that often, so there might be just a few such occurrences in all the Y-DNA tree, some affecting many haplogroups at once, others only deep subclades.

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    Very interesting. Can we make a poll and vote to determine if we have similar voices to fathers, and to our grown up sons.
    I have similar voice to my father, so has my brother. Funny thing is I've always wished I had a very low voice.

    Maybe we should vote on correlation of our haplotype to voice tone?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    All male phenotypical characteristics can be traced back to Y-DNA. Consequently, there is a real possibility that some Y-DNA haplogroups be linked to higher or lower voice pitches as well. I would think that mutations affecting male phenotypes don't happen all that often, so there might be just a few such occurrences in all the Y-DNA tree, some affecting many haplogroups at once, others only deep subclades.
    I've often wondered what male characteristics, exactly, are affected by Y-DNA. Voice pitch seems unlikely to me to have any more than a minor correlation. I have a much deeper voice than my paternal grandfather did, for example... my voice matches my father's mother's father best. Probably, things like vocal chord length are mainly autosomal, influenced only so far as Y-DNA influences testosterone levels.

    So, we are pretty sure that Y-DNA affects sperm count/quality and testosterone levels. What else does it affect directly? Growth hormones? Penis size/shape?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    Maybe we should vote on correlation of our haplotype to voice tone?
    I'd be interested in a poll like this, but would prefer a scientific study, because then there could be a control against the fact that Y-DNA also corresponds to autosomal components. In an unscientific poll, we won't be able to tell if it's really Y-DNA that's determining the voice pitch, or if it's just an incidental correlation.

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    I assumed that idea might be so novel that no scientific study was done in this regard. I have to agree though that we wont get enough participants to see statistical correlation from subjective voting, unless correlation is extremely strong. This is what I was hopeing for.

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    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    I guess if you were an attractive male your opportunity to mate would be much greater than an unattractive male. So in terms of breeding your sperm never needed to be better quality because you had ample opportunity to spread your seed. Where as the less attractive males didn't have that luxury and would have naturally developed a more potent ammo to get the job done on what few occasion presented themselves.

    If that were true can we grade someones ancestral attractiveness by their sperms count,
    low your a good looking bunch, high and your a bunch of tr0lls.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
    I've often wondered what male characteristics, exactly, are affected by Y-DNA. Voice pitch seems unlikely to me to have any more than a minor correlation. I have a much deeper voice than my paternal grandfather did, for example... my voice matches my father's mother's father best. Probably, things like vocal chord length are mainly autosomal, influenced only so far as Y-DNA influences testosterone levels.
    The tone of person's voice obviously depends from other genes than those on the Y chromosome, otherwise women would all have the same voice. What matters here is only the pitch, but this also varies with age.

    The voice pitch in men get lower from puberty onwards and keeps getting lower continuously through life. The same person will have a deeper voice at age 50 than at 20, that much is certain. Sperm quality also decreases with age, so that seems to corroborate the conclusion of the study.

    Using a metaphor, each person's voice is like a different instrument. The Y chromosome would only determine the octave at which the instrument is played at a certain age. Well, that's how I understand it.

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    Regardless of the effect on fertility, I would like to investigate the possible correlation between Y-DNA mutations and male voice pitch. One way of estimating this is to compare the average voice pitch between countries with one overwhelming haplogroup or supra-haplogroup. For instance, 80% of Irish men are R1b, while 80% of Moroccan men are E1b1b, most West African men are E1b, 40 to 75% of the men from the Arabian peninsula are J1, over 90% of Han Chinese are O, while most of the Tibetans are C or D. This would be a good start for a comparison. As I said above, I think that if Y chromosomal mutations do cause changes in voice pitch, these are rare occurrences that would probably divide the Y-DNA phylogenetic tree in very broad categories, probably lumping a lot of haplogroups together. For example haplogroups N, O, P, Q, R might all have the same pitch. Or perhaps even all haplogroups descended from F. Or all except one recent branch that developed a new mutation ? Anyway I think it would be pointless to try to compare I1 with I2 with J1 with J2, for instance, as they are all part of the IJ supra-haplogroup. That makes it easier as we can lump all the J1 and J2 in the Middle East together. Likewise we don't need to distinguish between the hundreds of subclades of E in Africa.

    What struck me at first is that Black Africans have noticeably lower voices than most other people. Voice pitches always decrease with age, yet it is undeniable that even teenage Black rappers have lower voices than the average middle-aged European or Asian man. Older Black men can get voices deeper than any White man could ever achieve (just think about Louis Armstrong or Barry White). We have to be careful with African Americans since some of them have European Y-DNA. But that also explains why not all Black Americans have those typically African deep voice pitches.

    But couldn't it be that other genes found among sub-Saharan Africans are responsible for their lower voice pitch ? Of course it could. That's why we should check if other E1b1b people also have deeper voices or not. I know from experience that the Moroccan men have considerably lower voice pitches than the European average. I have compared Arabic spoken by Moroccans and Saudi or people from the United Emirates, and the latter two are frequently higher pitched than the Moroccan voices. So it is not a matter of language.

    Among Europeans, Adolf Hitler belonged to haplogroup E1b1b and had a characteristic low voice. South Italians, Albanians and Greeks have the highest incidences of E1b1b in Europe, and there are quite a few Hollywood actors of South Italian patrilineal descent who do have considerably lower voices than average (think about mafia movies), although many others do not (because only about a third of them are E1b1b).

    If haplogroup E has the phenotypical effect of giving men lower voices than descendants of haplogroup F, then it could be than haplogroup D shares the same properties as E, since they derive from the common DE root. The highest incidences of haplogroup D are found in Tibet and Japan. The Dalai Lama is a prime candidate member of haplogroup D, and he does have a deep voice, very different from the Han Chinese. Approximately 36% of the Japanese belong to haplogroup D. I have lived long enough in Japan to notice that some Japanese men have much lower voices than typical East Asian men, other Japanese included. That is the case of quite a few actors playing samurai roles (like Toshiro Mifune). I wondered how that could be, but we may now have the answer.

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    What makes this investigation even more difficult is the fact that pitch also differs with language. For instance, it's well known that American English has a huger pitch span in genders than any other English dialect or European language. American men talk in a deeper voice than their British counterparts, and American women in a higher voice than British women. And I can't imagine that if you speak all your life in a certain pitch, that the vocal ligaments don't adapt to that pitch.
    Also British and French men use a higher pitch in their voices than German men do. So I don't think it's a coincidence these two languages are often considered as gay here and Germans prefer learning American English instead of British English. But generally German has a very low pitch span compared to many other languages, and sometimes I believe already only by this fact you can tell an English native speaker apart from a second language speaker from Germany.

    What would be very interesting for me now, is if there are any bi- or multilingual people here who change their pitches when they switch to the other language.

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    Funny stuff on that topic:


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    Wow, the more I think about this topic, the more interesting thoughts come to my mind:

    The Alemanic dialects (Swabian, Swizz German etc...) are known for their very broad pitch range, that's why they are also called 'singing dialects'. Pitch range lowers the more North Eastern you get, with being very low around the area of Brandenburg and southern Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Same as in Polish or Russian, where pitch range is also very low. The Low German dialects like Frisian or Hamburg dialect are something in between, same as Dutch or Danish.

    So, high pitch range seems to be a remnant of a Celtic feature, while very low pitch range is typically Slavic, and Germanic dialects/language are on an intermediate position!

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    I suppose we could control against differences in pitch in languages by asking for individual's singing pitch (tenor, baritone, bass) rather than trying to measure their speaking pitch. I suspect that that's less variable, although I don't know how much the vocal ligaments "adapt" as Mzungu put it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mzungu mchagga View Post
    What makes this investigation even more difficult is the fact that pitch also differs with language. For instance, it's well known that American English has a huger pitch span in genders than any other English dialect or European language. American men talk in a deeper voice than their British counterparts, and American women in a higher voice than British women. And I can't imagine that if you speak all your life in a certain pitch, that the vocal ligaments don't adapt to that pitch.
    Also British and French men use a higher pitch in their voices than German men do. So I don't think it's a coincidence these two languages are often considered as gay here and Germans prefer learning American English instead of British English. But generally German has a very low pitch span compared to many other languages, and sometimes I believe already only by this fact you can tell an English native speaker apart from a second language speaker from Germany.

    What would be very interesting for me now, is if there are any bi- or multilingual people here who change their pitches when they switch to the other language.
    I have also noticed that my voice sounds different when I speak French, English, German or Italian, for instance (and I can sound like a native speaker in any of these languages, although my vocabulary and grammar would betray me in German and occasionally in Italian). But I don't think that it is the actual pitch of my voice that changes, but rather the way the vowels and consonants are pronounced. French vowels are sounded more towards the front of the mouth, usually with a slight pout, which makes them sound more feminine than the more guttural German vowels or even the more open Italian vowels. Furthermore, French tends to be spoken in a softer voice than German. In English, middle- and upper-class British accents are also softer than most other varieties of English (American, Australian, working-class British). Yet, it is not the voice itself that varies but the sound produced by the person, intentionally.

    This is why I like to compare people speaking the same language but who belong to different haplogroups, such as Moroccan Arabic speakers and Arabian Arabic speakers, Black American and White American speakers of English, North and South Italians, or the clear division in high and very low pitches (with virtually no intermediary) between Japanese men (who either belong to Y-haplogroup D or O).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mzungu mchagga View Post
    Wow, the more I think about this topic, the more interesting thoughts come to my mind:

    The Alemanic dialects (Swabian, Swizz German etc...) are known for their very broad pitch range, that's why they are also called 'singing dialects'. Pitch range lowers the more North Eastern you get, with being very low around the area of Brandenburg and southern Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Same as in Polish or Russian, where pitch range is also very low. The Low German dialects like Frisian or Hamburg dialect are something in between, same as Dutch or Danish.

    So, high pitch range seems to be a remnant of a Celtic feature, while very low pitch range is typically Slavic, and Germanic dialects/language are on an intermediate position!
    The singing aspect that you describe is a variation in intonation (mood), rhythm or stress, not in absolute voice pitch. Let's use again my metaphor of genetically-determined voice pitches being instruments (a double bass has a lower pitch range than a cello, which is itself lower than a violin, although the do overlap to some extent). The singing characteristic of some dialects is simply a difference in the music being played (different rhythm, tempo), not in the instrument's pitch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mzungu mchagga View Post
    Funny stuff on that topic:

    I am not sure why it's funny. That teacher's accent sucks and he uses sentences that are not even correct (direct translations from English).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    The singing aspect that you describe is a variation in intonation (mood), rhythm or stress, not in absolute voice pitch. Let's use again my metaphor of genetically-determined voice pitches being instruments (a double bass has a lower pitch range than a cello, which is itself lower than a violin, although the do overlap to some extent). The singing characteristic of some dialects is simply a difference in the music being played (different rhythm, tempo), not in the instrument's pitch.
    I agree, it's more rhythm and intonation than pitch. I was getting a little off-topic anyway. But generally, what do you think about the idea that the singing characteristic derives from celtic languages?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I am not sure why it's funny. That teacher's accent sucks and he uses sentences that are not even correct (direct translations from English).
    It was even a french person who sent me this link. The funny thing about that part is, that the teacher is interested in intonation only, and doesn't care about anything else.

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    So it seems, from what I've read in this thread, the older the Y-DNA haplogroup the deeper the voice? Some women have deep voices how do you explain that?


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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by edao View Post
    I guess if you were an attractive male your opportunity to mate would be much greater than an unattractive male. So in terms of breeding your sperm never needed to be better quality because you had ample opportunity to spread your seed. Where as the less attractive males didn't have that luxury and would have naturally developed a more potent ammo to get the job done on what few occasion presented themselves.
    Not necessarily. Beauty's in the eye of the beholder or alternatively people for thousands of years had arranged marriages.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Bald men are perceived by most women as less attractive, but they tend to have higher testosterone levels
    Isn't men's baldness inherited from his maternal grandfather?

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    Good points foryouandme.


    Beauty's in the eye of the beholder
    Iinterestingly when it comes too beauty, researchers found only 3 universal traits common for all human cultures.

    1. "Good" proportional hourglass shape body for women. Some cultures liked women fat, some skinny, but all of them with same ratio of chest/waist/hips.
    2. Healthy, young looking skin.
    3. Symmetry. More symmetrical body or face is considered more beautiful.

    The rest is supposedly a learnt behavior.

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    I have a deep voice like my Grandfather ,Dad, and both my sons on the phone they can't us apart. My Grandfather is dead.

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    J1c5a

    Ethnic group
    España
    Country: Spain



    I usually exhausted to speak, especially if the subject does not interest me. When the change from adolescence to man I got a powerful voice, then I think I softened by shyness or unwilling to stand out, get noticed, have a very powerful voice implies not to fail or make mistakes, greater accountability and expectations of others, and other honestly I get tired and exhausted. So sometimes, after working hours or not I get the voice, I think not vocalize. On the other hand I can modulate his voice as it suits me, but in a normal state I have to make an effort to speak and raise the tone somewhat. I'd love us to be telepathic, I think my mind and my tongue are not synchronized to achieve the same speed or to express more precisely.


    In conclusion: I think the tone of voice, the voice that finally we may be conditioned by psychological elements, cultural, familial, social and others.

  25. #25
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    Thanks for sharing such interesting fact.
    but their can be several reasons for lower voices in men even due to health conditions so i just can't completely agree wit it .

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