Bullied Boobies Grow Up to Become Bullies Themselves

By Joseph Castro | August 9, 2011 11:33 am

spacing is important

Researchers at Wake Forest University in North Carolina have now learned that Nazca boobies perpetuate a “cycle of violence”: bullied chicks tend to become bullies and pass on the pain. When parent birds leave their nests to eat, baby boobies are often visited by sexually and physically abusive non-breeding adults; the chicks, when grown, are more likely to abuse unrelated chicks. “The link we found indicates that nestling experience, and not genetics, influences adult behaviour,” lead researcher David Anderson told BBC.

This behavior may have to do with hormone levels in the brain, according to another recent study out of Wake Forest University. Researchers found that concentrations of the stress hormone corticosterone in Nazca booby chicks increased five-fold during bullying events. The team believes that the spike in hormonal levels could have a long-term effect on the boobies’ brains, causing aggressive behavior later in life.

[Read more at BBC and New Scientist]

Image courtesy of Marc Figueras / Wikimedia Commons

  • Jay Fox

    Or maybe learned behavior is then repeated. Like abused kids go on to be abusers. It’s what they know.

  • http://interculturalmeanderings.wordpress.com Lynne Diligent

    This may be an explanation; however, the majority of bullied children do not turn into bullies; only some do.

  • Grim

    I was really hoping this would have been about something else…

  • brettrix

    Perhaps bullying is a good thing for the survival of the species… i learned a lot from being bullied as a kid. it happens.. what matters is how you deal with it. i don’t bully anyone growing up and in fact i became a sort of guardian to the kids who were being bullied. i think it’s just part of life and all these laws trying to stop it are just absurd. like the politicians themselves… absurd

  • BulliedChild

    I was bullied, and I grew up to protect others. I lost a cousin and a good friend to suicide caused by bullies. My cousin was even picked on in her church youth group.

    Society ignored the problem for years. It was only when victims began to turn violent that things began to change. I’m sorry, but I do not buy into the idea that my friends’ deaths were “survival of the species” . They were victims of an uneducated ignorant society.

  • bully hater

    You know what, brettrix? You’re really delusional and absurd for thinking that bullying is good. Bullying doesn’t do anyone good. Instead, it causes extreme harm and death.

    I’m sick of that “survival of the fittest” stereotype that bullying is part of a survival. Suppose somebody whop you care a great deal about is being bullied like heck and you do nothing to stop but instead, tell them that it’s a part of life. That person could be dead. And if you don’t care, you could be haunted by that problem for the rest of your life.

    We need laws to bullying because it has gotten out of hand and many people are tired of it. I mean, what if some tyrant went too far in tyrannizing a place? Those people could rebel.

    You’re an excuse for a guardian to kids who were bullied. A true guardian protects people from bullies and doesn’t let those antagonists get away with their behavior.

    If you force people to accept bullying, you could suffer the consequences for it. Why other people could turn against you.


    “I’m so sorry that you’ve been bullied. I’ve been bullied a lot. And that’s what made me resentful towards them. It’s a shame that society had ignored that problem for years. Heck, I remember somebody criticizing that society is a disease for rewarding evil and punishing good.

    But don’t be sorry about buying into the idea of your friends’ deaths being “survival of the fittest.” Being sorry for that could make others walk all over you. I’m not suggesting that you should be a bully. I’m typing that you should stand up for yourself and others.

    I’m also sorry for your friends’ being victims of an uneducated ignorant society. Shame on society for being that way.”


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