Cheating On The Beachmaster Summary

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Cheating on the Beachmaster by Rebecca Kessler has explained an intriguing behavior of female Southern elephant seals. The entire species of elephant seals are well known for their polygynous mating behavior, in which one male elephant seal dominates several females until another stronger male elephant seal dethrones him. This process involves violent fightings among the males and many other brutish behaviors. According to Burney J. Le Boeuf, a marine biologist studies elephant seals for years at the University of California, male elephant seals have the “habit of biting the neck when copulating”. Meanwhile, female elephant seals and their pups are expected to very vulnerable and independent because of their relatively smaller sizes compared to those of the males. However, in Kessler’s article, it is reported that female elephant seals living at Marion island have discovered a method to protect themselves from the brutal males. Researchers have found that more than half of the Southern female elephant seals are skipping their regular mating interval and show up at the island as being pregnant a year after. This leads to the conclusion that those female elephant seals must have bred somewhere else, while at the same time, approximately 75% the…show more content…
Le, and Sarah Mesnick. “Sexual Behavior of Male Northern Elephant Seals: I. Lethal Injuries To Adult Females.” Behaviour, vol. 116, no. 1, Jan. 1991, pp. 143–162., doi:10.1163/156853990x00400.

“Northern Elephant Seal.” The Marine Mammal Center,

Kessler, Rebecca. “Cheating on the Beachmaster.” Science | AAAS, 26 July 2017,

Shurkin, Joel N. “Seals mating at sea give beachmaster the slip.” - News and Articles on Science and Technology, 29 July 2011,
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