Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Robin Baker and Mark Bellis

  • Menno Schilthuizen
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_75-1



Robin Baker and Mark Bellis are two British researchers who carried out a series of pioneering and controversial studies into human sperm competition and female orgasm in the late 1980s and early 1990s.


Robin R. Baker was an evolutionary ecologist at the University of Manchester, where he was best known for his work on the evolution of reproductive strategies in humans and other animals. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he and his student Mark A. Bellis carried out a series of groundbreaking studies on intrasexual competition in humans. The chief results from this research were published in four prominent papers in the journal Animal Behaviour (Baker and Bellis 1989, 1990, 1993a, b) and in a 1995 book (Baker and Bellis 1995). Although their studies received criticism (Schilthuizen 2014; see below), these five publications jointly have been cited in the scientific literature more than 1,500 times.

Baker and Bellis...

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  1. Baker, R. R. (1996). Sperm wars: The science of sex. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  2. Baker, R. R., & Bellis, M. A. (1989). Number of sperm in human ejaculates varies in accordance with sperm competition theory. Animal Behaviour, 37, 867–869.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baker, R. R., & Bellis, M. A. (1990). Do females promote sperm competition? Data for humans. Animal Behaviour, 40, 997–999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baker, R. R., & Bellis, M. A. (1993a). Human sperm competition: Ejaculate adjustment by males and the function of masturbation. Animal Behaviour, 46, 861–885.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baker, R. R., & Bellis, M. A. (1993b). Human sperm competition: Ejaculate manipulation by females and a function for the female orgasm. Animal Behaviour, 46, 887–909.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baker, R. R., & Bellis, M. A. (1995). Human sperm competition: Copulation, masturbation and infidelity. London: Chapman and Hall.Google Scholar
  7. Moore, H. D. M., Martin, M., & Birkhead, T. R. (1999). No evidence for killer sperm or other selective interactions between human spermatozoa in ejaculates of different males in vitro. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, 266, 2343–2350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Schilthuizen, M. (2014). Nature’s nether regions: What the sex lives of bugs, birds, and beasts tell us about evolution, biodiversity, and ourselves. New York: Viking.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Naturalis Biodiversity Center and Leiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands