When it comes to preserving the species, don’t rely on men.
The annual Darwin Awards for humanity’s least flattering moments formed the basis of an analysis by British researchers, who set out to prove the pop culturally accepted conclusion that men are dumber than women.
The researchers, who cheekily called their hypothesis the "male idiot theory," reviewed 20 years of idiotic actions by winners of the Darwin Award, which honors people who have improved the gene pool by removing themselves from it through the stupidest ways possible.
Here are two exemplary specimens of idiocy:
Sex differences in risk-seeking behavior are well-documented. Men are more likely to be admitted to the emergency room with accidental and sports-related injuries, and be killed in car-related incidents. However, the science on idiotically risky behavior is still out.
Of the 318 Darwin Award nominations analyzed, just 36 went to women while 282 went to men, making their 88.7 percent margin “statistically significant,” according to the authors writing in the latest issue of the British Medical Journal.
Two caveats, however: Women, the researchers suggested, may be more likely to nominate men for a Darwin Award, or the differences in alcohol use between the sexes could account for some of the discrepancy in their Darwin-worthy feats.
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The authors also offered up their theories about why men take unnecessary risks: rites of passage, seeking the approval of other boys or men, or merely a case of securing "bragging rights."
"With the festive season upon us, we intend to follow up with observational field studies and an experimental study — males and females, with and without alcohol — in a seminaturalistic Christmas party setting," they wrote.