NCBI ROFL: The sea lion solution to sexual harrassment: keep fewer males around.

By ncbi rofl | May 31, 2011 7:00 pm

Sexual harassment and female gregariousness in the South American sea lion, Otaria flavescens.

“Most colonial pinnipeds [fin-footed animals] form extreme clusters of breeding females that cannot be entirely explained by the distribution of sites for reproduction. Avoidance of male harassment has been postulated as an important determinant of reproductive aggregation in this group of mammals. Female gregariousness can reduce harassment by resident males by two mechanisms; directly by the ‘dilution effect’ or indirectly because resident males that defend large female groups are less harassing. In order to investigate the relationship between male harassment and female gregariousness in relation to the size of breeding groups, we analysed the behaviour of dominant males and their females in a breeding colony of Otaria flavescens. Females in large breeding groups received less harassment by resident males due to dilution effects and because males that defended a large group interacted less frequently with females than males with small groups.”

Photo: flickr/Indrik myneur

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  • MikeS

    Yeah feminists won’t abuse this! How about some statistics on females lying about rape, females falsely accusing men of abusing children so they can get custody of children, or how about talking about how women abuse, and kill, more children every year than men do? Oh, not politically correct? Not popular with female readers? How about you examine your own anti-male bias and report accurately instead of band-wagon feminist, anti-male articles only? IOW how about you treat men and women like they’re actually equal?

  • SequoiaE

    The rate of false reports for rape is about the same as the rate of false reports for any other crime — fairly low. That does not change the fact that men commit the vast majority of the violent crimes.

    If any race, ethnic group, religious group, or other social subset committed 90% of the crimes there would be a hue and cry and a national debate on what to do about that group. Men as a group commit that percentage of the crime and no one asks what to do about them. Instead, we are treated to vitriol like that above.

  • Pierce Harlan

    SequoiaE says: “The rate of false reports for rape is about the same as the rate of false reports for any other crime — fairly low.”

    Flat-out wrong. I am founder of the world’s leading site dedicated to giving voice to victims of false sex crimes, False Rape Society, and am familiar with every serious study on the subject. The commentator is repeating an urban myth of diabolical proportions.The crime of rape has become so embroiled in the gender-politicized sexual assault milieu, where serious dialogue grounded in fact is displaced by vituperative rants and politically motivated assertions, that most reports about the prevalence of such false claims are inherently untrustworthy. In advocating for rape reforms, especially in the 70s and 80s but even to today, some feminist legal scholars engaged in a sort of disingenuous scholarly overkill by sprinkling their rationales with shibboleths about how women don’t or hardly ever lie about rape. As a result, the literature is replete with references to the “fact” that only two percent of all rape clams are false, consistent with the purported average for other crimes. That canard was long ago debunked and it is astounding that it is still repeated by zealots. An authoritative law review article painstakingly traced the two percent canard to its baseless source. E. Greer, The Truth Behind Legal Dominance Feminism’s ‘Two Percent False Rape Claim’ Figure, 33 Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review 947. Moreover, the FBI has compiled statistics to show that women lie far more often about rape than other crimes. See, e.g., The Politics of Sexuality, Barry M. Dank, Editor in Chief, Vol. 3 at 36, n. 8. 

    Aside from this faulty premise, there is a word for SequoiaE’s suggestion to hold all members of a group responsible for the acts of a tiny percentage of it: bigotry. Go back to your cave, SequoiaE, and leave the 21st Century to people who can engage in civil discourse without such blatant hatred of almost half the population of planet earth.

  • J Paul

    If there is any conspiracy in this country, it is against free men. Increasingly common false rapes claims are one of the primary methods for ruining men’s names–and therefore their lives–and subjecting them to harassment. Authorities at every level are aware of it and go right along with it. Think it’s something new? Read Aristotle’s Politics in which the great philisopher lists “Lopping off the eminent, free-spirited men” as a means of preserving a stable government. It’s nothing new at all.

  • Matt

    It’s as blatant an example as I can imagine of abusing science for a particular agenda, in this case using the all-too-common tactic of anthropomorphizing animals to find a way to attack or criticize some part of the human race, and in this case, men. Just imagine a study of how males of a certain species avoid getting exploited for their ability to secure resources by, say, moving away from a group of their own kind to live elsewhere? The howls of indignation by feminists would be ear-splitting. This is a perfect example of this kind of thing in action.

  • pjay

    Clearly, based on this work we need to legalize polygamy in the US as soon as possible.

  • lucullus

    @SequoiaE: “Men as a group commit that percentage of the crime and no one asks what to do about them”.

    Women commit a majority of child abuse acts, are more likely (than the father) to kill their child, initiate the majority of domestic violence incidents, and are 100% responsible for all false rape claims. So, I am asking…what are you going to do about them?

  • Jim R

    While the premise of this article should in no way be taken serious, its great seeing men take umbrage and beset this article with rightful indignation. I urge readers to keep in mind an important line in the article which reads ” Avoidance of male harassment has been “POSTULATED”…ahh there lies the magic word which in short is telling us to take for granted without proof as in pulled out of someone’s behind. Also, the author’s usage of words when describing the dynamics between the male and female sea lions. Are they interacting or are they harrassing? Is it harrassment and if so from which female sea lion did they receive complaint from…yeesh…all so laughable.

  • Dario Roscigno

    Nicely done. I adore your posts.


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NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl


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