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Survival of the Pickiest

How Antarctic fur seals select mates

  • Laura Tangley
  • May 01, 2007
CONTRARY TO COMMON wisdom, a recent study found that some female Antarctic fur seals will travel up to 115 feet across a colony to mate, shunning a nearby dominant male that, because he's mated with so many other females, is more likely to be a relative. Such apparent aversion to inbreeding may have helped the species recover from near extinction a century ago. According to University of Cambridge zoologist Joe Hoffman, lead author of the report in Nature, the results "also suggest that female choice may be more widespread in nature than we previously thought."

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