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Author: mackenmurphy.org

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"The host, Macken Murphy, is able to condense vast chunks of information into engaging and digestible episodes. Fact-filled and fun."
— The New York Times
240 Episodes
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An audio essay on human nature, followed by an interview with primatologist Dr. Susan Cheyne. Susan is the co-director of the Borneo Nature Foundation International and the Borneo River Initiative for Nature Conservation and Communities, she is the Vice Chair of the IUCN Section on Small Apes, and she is also a Senior Lecturer at Oxford Brookes; she has been studying gibbons for about 27 years. Our conversation is wide-ranging, but centers on gibbons. We discuss gibbon locomotion, life among gibbons, the nature and function of gibbon song, gibbon violence, monogamy, and infanticide (and lack thereof), and other subjects. Enjoy. Dr. Cheyne's research: http://www.susancheyne.com  IUCN Section on Small Apes: https://gibbons.asia/   Timestamps:  0:00 Are humans naturally monogamous? 17:27 Introducing today's subject and guest 20:25 Gibbon overview (interview starts) 31:57 Why do humans have twins? 34:02 A day in the life of a gibbon 38:57 Studying gibbons 40:37 Forgotten apes 44:06 Monogamy 1:09:27 Violence 1:11:34 Singing 1:17:49 Intelligence 1:23:28 Conservation   Sources relevant to the introduction:  Stewart-Williams & Thomas | "The Ape That Thought It Was a Peacock" | 2013 Fisher | "The Anatomy of Love" | 2016 Ryan & Jethá | "Sex at Dawn" | 2010 Kramer | Pew Research | 2020 Marlowe | Behavioural Processes | 2000 Chapais | Evolutionary Anthropology | 2013 Schacht & Kramer | Sec Behavioral and Evolutionary Ecology | 2019 Shankman | "The Mead–Freeman Controversy Continues" | 2018 (I'm not sure if this view is correct; once again, you can find academics on both sides of this.)
Pilled | Louis Bachaud

Pilled | Louis Bachaud

2024-02-1202:09:24

A deep dive into the manosphere, with the scholar who knows it best, Louis Bachaud. The manosphere is a constellation of 5 loosely affiliated communities, including pick-up artists (PUAs), men's rights activists (MRAs), "Men Going Their Own Way" (MGTOW), incels (the "Black Pill" communiy), and the "Red Pill" community. Louis details the history of the manosphere, describes the current factions and their differences, and guides us through their use and misuse of science, especially evolutionary psychology. The episode opens with a systematic critique of the manosphere, and the interview starts around 34 minutes in. Enjoy. Recommended background, especially for critiques of the manosphere: - Bachaud, L., & Johns, S. E. (2023). The use and misuse of evolutionary psychology in online manosphere communities: The case of female mating strategies. Evolutionary Human Sciences, 5, e28.  For the size and direction of sex differences, see: - Archer, J. (2019). The reality and evolutionary significance of human psychological sex differences. Biological Reviews, 94(4), 1381-1415.  - Stewart-Williams, S., Butler, C. A., & Thomas, A. G. (2017). Sexual history and present attractiveness: People want a mate with a bit of a past, but not too much. The Journal of Sex Research, 54(9), 1097-1105.  - Schmitt, D. P. (2005). Sociosexuality from Argentina to Zimbabwe: A 48-nation study of sex, culture, and strategies of human mating. Behavioral and Brain sciences, 28(2), 247-275.  - Buss, D. M. (1989). Sex differences in human mate preferences: Evolutionary hypotheses tested in 37 cultures. Behavioral and brain sciences, 12(1), 1-14.  For extra-pair paternity: - Wolf, M., Musch, J., Enczmann, J., & Fischer, J. (2012). Estimating the prevalence of nonpaternity in Germany. Human Nature, 23, 208-217.  - Anderson, K. (2006). How well does paternity confidence match actual paternity? Evidence from worldwide nonpaternity rates. Current anthropology, 47(3), 513-520. - Bellis, M. A., Hughes, K., Hughes, S., & Ashton, J. R. (2005). Measuring paternal discrepancy and its public health consequences. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 59(9), 749-754.  For age gaps: - Conroy-Beam, D., & Buss, D. M. (2019). Why is age so important in human mating? Evolved age preferences and their influences on multiple mating behaviors. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, 13(2), 127.  - Antfolk, J., Salo, B., Alanko, K., Bergen, E., Corander, J., Sandnabba, N. K., & Santtila, P. (2015). Women's and men's sexual preferences and activities with respect to the partner's age: Evidence for female choice. Evolution and Human Behavior, 36(1), 73-79.  - Buunk, B. P., Dijkstra, P., Kenrick, D. T., & Warntjes, A. (2001). Age preferences for mates as related to gender, own age, and involvement level. Evolution and Human Behavior, 22(4), 241-250.
Today, we explore the befuddling (and surprisingly complex) mystery of the human beard. Our guide is Dr. Barnaby Dixson, a human behavioral ecologist at the University of the Sunshine Coast who uses interdisciplinary methods to investigate human mate preferences across cultures.  His extensive work has bettered our understanding of a wide variety of physical traits; most relevant to today's discussion, he is one of the primary contributors to our understanding of beards. We discuss the evolution of facial masculinity and facial hair, and their role in attractiveness and intimidation across various contexts. You can learn more about Dixson, here: https://www.usc.edu.au/staff/dr-barnaby-dixson Relevant sources are mostly in Dixson’s past publications: https://scholar.google.com.au/citations?user=LE_ROqQAAAAJ&hl=en But also, see: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vbEZV65uWCcG3E3Qzk-DEuy2m3rodw07WIt3l6meMSo/edit?usp=sharing
William Costello is an expert on incels, a rising star in the field of evolutionary psychology, and the latest protégé of Dr. David Buss. In this conversation, we discuss incel violence, demographics, mythology, perception vs. reality, and solutions to inceldom, among other things. There's still time to participate in Costello's cross-sex mind-reading study, here: https://utexas.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_38KyEyGDOs4stN4 You can keep up with Costello on Twitter, @CostelloWilliam: https://twitter.com/CostelloWilliam?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor  
Date Psychology | Alexander

Date Psychology | Alexander

2023-06-0401:39:31

Alexander is a psychologist and science communicator. He is best known for his deep dives into the literature on human mating and his nuanced critiques of popular misconceptions about dating. In this data-driven discussion, he talks to Macken about what men and women actually want and what people generally get wrong about dating, before diving into a variety of topics including the Manosphere, the “mating crisis,” hypergamy, and bodycount, among others. Alexander is @datepsych on Twitter, where he runs online studies and produces fascinating threads on mating. He also runs a popular blog, datepsychology.com, and is increasingly popular on YouTube, @alex.datepsych.
Great White Shark

Great White Shark

2023-03-2623:222

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water... a brand new episode of Species. Come listen and learn about their secret social lives, how to survive a shark attack, and some mind-blowing stats. Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ayzr57teXk06LE21jN9LH934wXhOzIRW9KbKiBeCUVw/edit?usp=sharing
Updates | 1.15.23

Updates | 1.15.23

2023-01-1602:47

I'm extremely busy and, unfortunately, pausing production on Species, at least for most of this month. If you sent me a donation in January and you want a refund, contact me through mackenmurphy.org, and I will be sure to send it back to you. My sincerest apologies.
"DNA isn't all that matters, but it matters more than everything else put together." —Dr. Robert Plomin Blueprint: https://mitpress.mit.edu/9780262039161/blueprint/ Plomin is one of history's most important psychologists and a pioneer in the field of behavioral genetics. He is a research professor at King's College London, best known for his work on twins. In this podcast, Plomin explains how we know that genes impact our behavior, clarifies all the common confusions about the field, and pushes back against some of Macken's criticisms. Enjoy.
Updates | 12.18.22

Updates | 12.18.22

2022-12-1903:22

TikTok @mackenmurphy: https://www.tiktok.com/@mackenmurphy YouTube @murphymacken (I would buy the @mackenmurphy handle from you, if you have it): https://www.youtube.com/@murphymacken
Mimic Octopus

Mimic Octopus

2022-12-0521:44

Nature's greatest shapeshifter, the mimic octopus is known for their spectacular impersonations of other species. Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CrxPPq4mAJpmmQTFIh51KzoHa1SZZv5C4dF-KyFB0ik/edit?usp=sharing
Women compete vigorously over mates but do so more subtly than men. In this episode, Dr. Tania Reynolds teaches us how women use gossip to win mates. Additionally, we discuss friendship, thinness, and the evolution of homosexuality, among other subjects. Tania Reynolds is an assistant professor of Evolutionary Psychology at the University of New Mexico. Her research examines how intrasexual competition and cooperation contribute to psychological and behavioral sex differences. She investigates how pressures for humans' ancestors to select advantageous social allies—and be selected in return—contribute to modern-day preferences, biases, and behaviors. Connect with Dr. Reynolds on Twitter @TaniaArline, and keep up with her work using the links below: Department webpage: https://psych.unm.edu/people/faculty/profile/tania-reynolds.html Research: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Tania-Reynolds  
Vegetarian Spider

Vegetarian Spider

2022-11-0622:49

This spider, Bagheera kiplingi, prefers a plant-based diet. Come learn about trees that pay ant security guards in gold, The Jungle Book, and an exceptional animal on this episode of Species. Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XSUztDqSZWt1IM_IA9JnkFVqRZ14pd6YHCPQlu2jz4E/edit?usp=sharing
Guinea Pig

Guinea Pig

2022-10-1820:08

Not from Guinea, not a pig. Upcoming live events... 10 AM on October 26th: https://www.talesonmoonlane.co.uk/halftermfestival 2 PM on October 26th: https://www.moonlaneink.co.uk/moonlanestorytellingworkshops 2 PM on October 27th: https://www.moonlaneramsgate.com/
White-Tailed Deer

White-Tailed Deer

2022-10-0220:20

Come learn about predator-prey communication, Bambi, and the most-hunted big game animal in America on this episode of Species. Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1l947u7nmpJ-6e4_wkQt29WH7Lki-8I_hZLDFBhOWZfg/edit?usp=sharing
California Condor

California Condor

2022-09-1923:311

Find out how sock puppets aided the most insane conservation effort in history and learn everything about America's biggest bird. Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SA3gYa9Xrq-sZxWkkqGWBbEbB1X0ZaaUGlFqLg-NN9w/edit?usp=sharing
Infidelity is almost ubiquitous among the Himba, an indigenous group of pastoralists living in Namibia and Angola. In this episode, I speak with a human behavioral ecologist who can help us understand why. UCLA's Professor Brooke Scelza (@bascelza) has studied reproductive decision-making in these people for about a decade. Her fascinating work has made progress towards understanding the rationale behind patterns of parental investment, fosterage, and infidelity. In this podcast, we focus on the last item on this list. Come learn about an interesting culture and view infidelity through a new lens on this episode of Species. 
Birdlike

Birdlike

2022-08-0717:07

An essay about birds, music, and evolution. https://tenderly.medium.com/birds-are-musicians-24b3d2dc5eb2
Rattlesnake

Rattlesnake

2022-07-2522:03

How come some Christians risk their lives to hold snakes? Why do snakes have forked tongues? Do snakes "see" heat? Listen and learn the answers to all these questions and more! Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/14zL71mi0U2QGOdivbE_-ZomBBXVXDOKXc49R0yGR0UA/edit?usp=sharing  
Siamang

Siamang

2022-07-1027:501

Come learn about a singing, (mostly) monogamous acrobat! Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1O9830gFU8gHBDzF70JSwqo-mvwq3dZ7VogcX3rFzDS0/edit?usp=sharing  
Tardigrade

Tardigrade

2022-06-2625:33

This microscopic animal can survive in outer space. Find out how and learn about the toughest animal on earth (and off of it) by listening to today's episode! Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NXu2AzNhIj7V_9jcISMvxolWlCAim0uzCLveJDYuFtQ/edit?usp=sharing  
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Comments (18)

Ari

I googled "living blobfish" and got results

Feb 16th
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ID19619055

Great podcast except for the host’s insistence on focusing on gender as a binary. Repeatedly.

Nov 15th
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Happy⚛️Heretic

YAY! New episode! This is a top notch podcast series.

Oct 29th
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Happy⚛️Heretic

YAY! Another new episode! This podcast is a treasure & the host is second to none.

Jul 11th
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Happy⚛️Heretic

Yay! New episode!

Jun 27th
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Happy⚛️Heretic

YAY!! YOU'RE BACK! -You were very missed.

Oct 12th
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Happy⚛️Heretic

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE INGRID! SHE'S MY HERO. ♥️

May 24th
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Happy⚛️Heretic

Fascinating! (as always)

May 5th
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W K

Thank you for this passionated and informative podcast!

Jan 29th
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Happy⚛️Heretic

YES! ABSOLUTELY- ANIMALS SHOULD BE LEGALLY CONSIDERED AS PERSONS.

Jan 7th
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Happy⚛️Heretic

FASCINATING EPISODE!! I'm getting every book from this Harvard Professor.

Jan 4th
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Happy⚛️Heretic

Please don't ever apologize for a longer than usual episode! I could & (I would) listen to you for hours. In fact, I already do.... because ever since I discovered this AMAZING podcast a couple weeks ago I've listened to the entire show catalog & working on my second listening binge through them all again! YOU are a rock-star!

Oct 31st
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Happy⚛️Heretic

The host is knowledgeable & talented- weaving up-to-date animal facts with an insightful & poetic philosophy. Definitely a 5- star podcast! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Oct 30th
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Joyce Yu Welch

This is soooo cool! Love your podcast!!

Jun 9th
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Happy⚛️Heretic

Great animal/nature podcast! I can't believe I only just now discovered it. Happy day, happy binge!

Apr 30th
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Tessa Sus

Love this episode :) It shows kind nature of these beautiful birds whose lives are brutally shorten by non humane actions of humans. Great narrative, made me feel that I am just watching close by the life of mourning dove family :) Thank u Macken ♡

Sep 21st
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Melissa Daenzer

had no idea beavers are so social! once happened upon beaver clearing =amazing! Ty 4 demonstrating the 💜 of this common critter! #love #oregon #beaver #podcast

Mar 11th
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Melissa Daenzer

the cowbirds mafia comparison was brilliant! great talk about a common bird!

Feb 11th
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