Why more female penguins than male penguins are washing up dead in South America. Reflections on gender differences in spatial awareness.

A piece published on the website of Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them), the political party of which I’m the chairman, in January 2019:

piece published today on the BBC website. The full text:

Every year, thousands of penguins become stranded on South America’s coast – with females three times more likely to wash up dead or injured than males.

Now scientists from Japan and Argentina have concluded this is because female Magellanic penguins are migrating further north in search of food than their male counterparts. [J4MB: Where, self-evidently, food is LESS plentiful. Doh!]

The findings are published in the journal Current Biology.

Hmm, this might well be a manifestation of the female spatial awareness problem, which affects virtually all animal species. It explains why, for example:

  • in migrating birds, the birds at the front (who alternate from time to time, to share the wind resistance burden) are invariably male, because only they know where on earth to go (literally); and
  • women need much wider and longer spaces than men in which to park their cars. Recent research at the University of Leighton Buzzard (as yet unpublished) concluded that the average woman needs a space at least 25 metres wide and 25 metres long in which to park, without becoming highly stressed. The length requirement doubles to 50 metres for reverse parking.

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