Wild Things: Piranhas, Nazca Boobies, Glowing Millipedes

Elephant Seals, Neanderthal evolution and more news from the world of science

Big Southern elephant seal bulls (Mirounga leonina) fighting for females on beach during breeding season in spring. (© Momatiuk - Eastcott / Corbis)

Freedom At Sea

Big Southern elephant seal bulls
(© Momatiuk - Eastcott / Corbis)
Among southern elephant seals, four-ton alpha males lord over harems ashore and block other males from mating with the hundreds of females. But P.J.N. de Bruyn of the University of Pretoria has found that the top seal’s control is not ironclad: The timing of pregnancy indicates some females mate at sea, possibly escaping the alpha.

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