The theory that men frequently do stupid things is now supported by the first systematic analysis of sex differences in risk-taking behaviour. It's known that males are more likely to be admitted to an emergency department after accidental injuries, more likely to be admitted with a sporting injury and more likely to be involved in a fatal road traffic collision.
But little is known about sex differences in idiotic risk taking behaviour. To find out more about gender differences in this particular field, a team of researchers in England reviewed data from the Darwin Awards spanning a 20-year period, from 1995 to 2014.
Continually updated on a website since 1993, the awards celebrate those individuals who eliminate themselves in an extraordinarily idiotic manner, thereby improving our species' chances of long-term survival.
Examples include the "man with an iron stomach" who chewed his beer glass, the man who shot himself in the head with a "spy pen" weapon to show his friend that it was real or the terrorist who posted a letter bomb with insufficient postage and, on its return, unthinkingly opened it.
"We reviewed all Darwin Award nominations, noting the sex of the winner. Our analysis included only confirmed accounts verified by the Darwin Awards Committee," John Dudley Isaacs, director at the Institute of Cellular Medicine at Newcastle University, Ben Lendrem, a student at the King Edward VI School in Morpeth, and colleagues wrote.
Honourable mentions, given to individuals who survived their idiotic behaviour thereby not eliminating themselves from the gene pool, were excluded from the study.
Overall, 318 out of 431 Darwin Award nominations were eligible for statistical testing. It emerged that 282 awards were awarded to males and just 36 given to females. Basically, males made up 88.7 per cent of Darwin Award winners, such a statistically significant gender difference is entirely consistent with male idiot theory, and supports the hypothesis that men are idiots and idiots do stupid things.