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...
Published 05/05/24
Published 05/05/24
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...
Published 02/12/24
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...
Published 10/29/23
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: ...
Published 07/09/23
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,...
Published 06/04/23
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
Published 03/26/23
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.
Published 01/16/23
"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...
Published 12/26/22
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
Published 12/19/22
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
Published 12/05/22
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...
Published 11/21/22
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
Published 11/06/22
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/
Published 10/18/22
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
Published 10/02/22
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
Published 09/19/22
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...
Published 08/22/22
An essay about birds, music, and evolution. https://tenderly.medium.com/birds-are-musicians-24b3d2dc5eb2
Published 08/07/22
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  
Published 07/25/22
Come learn about a singing, (mostly) monogamous acrobat! Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1O9830gFU8gHBDzF70JSwqo-mvwq3dZ7VogcX3rFzDS0/edit?usp=sharing  
Published 07/10/22
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  
Published 06/26/22
Exam season is upon us. Until exams finish, I will be taking a hiatus from the show to focus. Donors, please feel free to pause donations until then; there are never any hard feelings from me, only gratitude towards you. Until we return, please feel free to enjoy the back catalogue, and the content below. - MM Animal Sidekicks: https://neonsquidbooks.com/books/animal-sidekicks/ Sentientist Conversations (definitely not for children): https://youtu.be/vzn-AhproxE Human Evolution: ...
Published 04/24/22
This crab could give your car a hug. Come learn about Scottish fairies and fisheries on this episode of Species. Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/14X6sb9dx9wHqwiiPkm2-nLdnBuFYFXKOL_GzZq7dhkc/edit?usp=sharing
Published 03/27/22
95% of this bird's food is stolen. Come learn about the greatest pirate in the animal kingdom and the largest cash heist in world history on this episode of Species. Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ESVjx91TyWn3VeJc9dmuYHFCbmb9IEyDvfrKzfh7H48/edit?usp=sharing
Published 03/06/22
Why did love evolve? In this episode, we hear from Dr. Helen Fisher about the three different kinds of love, how they benefited our ancestors, and how we can use our knowledge of them to improve our romantic lives. She gives us data-driven advice on how to choose a partner and how to keep your relationship happy through the months, years, and decades. Dr. Helen Fisher is arguably the world’s leading expert on romantic love. She is a biological anthropologist working as the chief science...
Published 02/20/22