Becky Ferreira for Vice wrote a fascinating article about Howler monkeys – the loudest land animals on Earth. Howler monkeys are capable of bellowing at volumes of 140 decibels, which is as loud as a gunshot or firecracker.
Her article, The Louder the Monkey, the Smaller Its Balls, Study Finds helped me come closer to understanding Keith Raniere’s ancestry.
Male howlers, Ferreira writes, “frequently use this power to advertise their sexual fitness, catcalling females with their ear-splitting roars.
“But in a beautiful twist of expectations, scientists have now found that the louder the monkey’s calls, the smaller the monkey’s balls. A team based out of Cambridge University came to this conclusion by comparing the size of dozens of monkeys’ testes with the hyoid bones located in their voice boxes, which revealed a negative correlation between decibel levels and testicular endowment.
“The results are published in the journal Current Biology.
“We found that males with larger hyoids, who can make lower-pitch vocalizations, have smaller testes and live in single-male groups with a harem of a few females,” anthropologist Leslie Knapp, a senior author of the study, said in a statement. “Males with smaller hyoids live in multimale groups and have larger testes.”
The study helped explain why howler monkeys develop contrasting social structures – males who howl loudly live as the sole male with a harem of females. They have smaller balls.
It also helps explain why Raniere offered the equivalent of howling – bragging and lying about his judo, his IQ, his business successes – and why he had a harem of women who could never be with another man the rest of their lives: He has small balls.
The “louder, small-balled monkey is more likely to develop a harem of females with whom he has exclusive breeding access,” the study suggests.
“The quieter, well-endowed monkeys…. tend to end up in larger groups containing many males and females that copulate freely with each other. In this non-exclusive group, males compete for paternity quite literally with their balls. The bigger a male’s sperm count, the more he is to edge out all the other males that are mating with the same females.”
While Knapp warns against anthropomorphizing these findings – there is a world of difference between howler monkeys and humans – in the case of Keith Alan Raniere, anthropomorphizing is hard to resist.
The howler monkeys’ behavior seems to explain a lot about Raniere, a small balled monkey with a loud howl.
Unfortunately, for him, he went from just keeping a harem to sex trafficking and racketeering to possibly murder. He is confined to a world of all males – just the opposite of where his previous howling got him.
No one cares how loud he howls. He is a convict, an inmate in a federal prison, likely to be there for life.
By all accounts, he will serve as some prisoner’s wife-bitch and play the female role.
And that’s something to howl about.