Social Status and Mating Activity in Elephant Seals

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Science  03 Jan 1969:
Vol. 163, Issue 3862, pp. 91-93
DOI: 10.1126/science.163.3862.91


Individually marked male elephant seals, Mirounga angustirostris, observed on an island off central California participate in a social hierarchy resembling the peck order of domestic chickens. Individuals achieve status by fighting and maintain it by stereotyped threat displays. The higher the status of a male, the more readily he approaches and copulates with females. Four percent of the males inseminated 85 percent of the females.

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