Male elephant seals with large harems die younger

A male southern elephant seal bloodied after a fight with a rival

Agustin Esmoris/Minden Pictures/Alamy

Male elephant seals with the largest harems end up dying younger than those with fewer females.

Elephant seal harems consist of anywhere from five to 50 females associated with one dominant male. Subordinate males sometimes creep along the edges of the beach attempting to mate with some of the females.

Dominant males have to defend the females and their pups, as well as the beach they live on, from rivals, which can wear them down. They can also incur …

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