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Monday, November 7, 2011

Dolphins team up to get the girl


An alliance of four male dolphins, dubbed The Beatles have shown that when blokes co-operate, they have more sexual success.

The research by a team at Macquarie University is published in the Journal of Animal Ecology.

The study found that male dolphins who form an alliance fathered far more babies than those who worked in smaller groups or alone.

The researchers studied a population of 70 male and 64 female Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins living in Port Stephens, New South Wales. They collected skin samples from males and calves and looked for genetic markers which would reveal the paternity of the calves.

They found that 14 different males had sired 32 calves. However, nearly half of the calves - 13 individuals - were sired by a single alliance of four dolphins known as The Beatles.

Three calves were sired by a three-male alliance and five calves were sired by another three-male alliance.

The remaining 11 calves sired by pairs or lone males.
Teaming up works

Males are known to form alliances in a number of species, including lions, chimpanzees, horses and, some would argue, humans.

"But there has not been any evidence to show why an alliance might be preferable," says co-author Dr Jo Wiszniewski.

"This research shows that male dolphins need to cooperate with each other to maximise their reproductive success."

Up to 80 per cent of males form alliances to seek out and reproduce with females during the spring/summer breeding season, says Wiszniewski.

"Males in alliances have better control of the females - we often see the males swimming around the females one on each side, sometimes one at the back. The female can't get away from them," she says.

"They basically herd the female - they try to keep her away from other males. They would swim by her and when she was feeding, they would feed too."

"These kind of herding events can last just from a few hours up to a few weeks at a time," says Wiszniewski.
Pressure to form alliances

Female dolphins only have a calf every two to five years, so in any particular year there are very few females available and ready to mate with.

"That's why there's so much pressure for males to form alliances, to become more competitive," she says.

Previous research from Western Australia also found that male dolphins who form alliances breed more successfully. But in this case, forming cooperative alliances was less surprising, Wiszniewski says, because those dolphins were related.

"If one of those males helps another reproduce, he still gets benefits because his genes still get passed on," she says.

But in Port Stephens, the cooperating dolphins weren't related.

"That's what's so fascinating. By helping another male, they are actually risking the chance that they won't reproduce with a female. So they really need a high level of cooperation and trust so then the male knows that by helping another male, he's also going to get helped."

Wiszniewski points out that one of The Beatles - John - doesn't seem to have fathered any calves.

"We have a feeling he was not a full part of the alliance. He was what we call the odd male out - he wasn't really 'in' with the group."

1 comment:

Andrea Muhrrteyn said...

Amazing how this 'passing on your genes' meme seems to be considered -- without any impartial scientific enquiry, I might add -- the be all and end all of 'success'.

Frankly: I think that men and women who consider passing on their genes as the most important success story of their life, have had their mental faculties hijacked by the gene-reproduction-is-most-important meme.

Is a man who passes on his genes, to continue his bloodline', while living a life of misery (even if too unconscious to know he is miserable), devoted to being a slave to the endless ratrace (on behalf of his bloodline), endless attempting to bullshit everyone how 'successful' you are (which includes your possession of 2.2 kids), a wife, you used for a broodsow, whom you have never gotten to know passionately, to the depths of each others souls, but whom was the correct genetic look for being your broodsow.

In short a life of mindless conformity: your entire body, and entire identity, all your actions of education, work and play existed purely to serve your genes, so they could reproduce themselves... you, all you consider yourself to be, was just a fucked up illusion, a deception that your 'reproduce my genes' memes deceived you with for your entire life... You -- your entire life -- was nothing more than a slave to your genes to reproduce themselves. Like a good slave you were obedient. you reproduced your genes, and sacrificed joy, honesty, honour, passion, all in the service of your genetic reproduction genes' orders...

or would you rather live a life of passion, investigate every meme ordering you to run around and be a goddamn fucking little slave to serve its 'reproduce your genes' cause, to go and fucking reproduce itself; until you find someone who turns your world upside down, in whose presence you would happily push a nuclear button that blows the entire milky way to its glory, whose priority is you and your happiness in this life; not whether you are a slave to your genetic fascist memes....

Might there be a difference in the child who is conceived from love and passion and with a passion for its conception, as an act of love; to a child conceived purely for perpetuating the orders of your genetic fascist memetic masters?

Man A is a man who breeds 40 children, whom he hates and whose bloodline of hate continues for another 400 years, on a planet nobody in the universe gives a fuck about, whose bloodline is only considered 'important' to a bunch of neanderthal homo-kaffirs without any critical thinking faculties; who for all intents are purposes is nothing more than a homo-kaffir; whose entire homo-kaffir life was one of misery and self deception and delusion and lies and self hatred.

Man B is a man who breeds no children, or only one or two children, whom he loves and cherishes, whom are conceived out of passion, whose conscious choice to limit the number of children conceived provides him with an opportunity to love, learn, and explore a world of finding himself, of challenging himself, of refusing to be a slave to his genetic reproduction meme fascists, and isntead choosing to live a truely meaningful life.

What factors do science use to consider A as more successful than B?

When the fuck do scientists start asking htemselves these types of questions?

When do scientists consider the possibility that it is the quality of the questions we ask ourselves that determine our current reality and our future?