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By Smaktakula

The waters surrounding the Horn of Africa have long served as the historic hunting grounds of Somali pirates.  In the face of such diverse threats as globalization and climate change, the proud Somali buccaneers fight diligently to maintain their way of life.   Now, they may be aiding scientists to better understand how natural selection works in a real-life environment.

Recently, observers of the Somali pirate ecosystem have discovered a disturbing trend.  While most Somali pirates choose as their victims vulnerable vessels which command high ransoms, an increasing number of Somali pirates are attacking navy vessels in seemingly futile actions which almost always result in the pirates’ death or capture.  On the surface this sort of behavior would appear to be so moronic and assbackward as to threaten the Somali pirate community’s very existence.  In actuality, it is this phenomenon which keeps the community vibrant and healthy.

No Country For Old Men: Aging Pirates Like Simon (Above) Can't Afford To Retire

These are rough times for African corsairs.  An increasing number of young men are choosing the time-honored profession, but older pirates are clinging to their jobs, unwilling to trust in the Elderly Somali Pirate Fund, available to those venerable cutthroats who live long enough to reach retirement age at twenty-eight.  At the same time, maritime traffic around the Horn of Africa–a primary source of a Somali pirate’s livelihood–is becoming more scarce.  Compounding the pirates’ woes, those ships which do travel African waters are increasingly well-armed.

Enter the miracle of Natural Selection.  When there are too many pirates in relation to available plunder, nature ensures that the fittest and wiliest pirates live to produce numerous offspring, while pirates with less-favorable attributes are often killed before they can sire more than six or seven young.

His Favorable Genetic Characteristics Ensure A Life Of Swag, Booty and Wenches Wenches Wenches!

For years, scientists have theorized about a possible ‘Stupid Gene’ in humans.  Now, with a seemingly greater number of Somali pirates acting like idiots, scurvologists (maritime piracy scientists) believe they have their proof.  ‘Stupid Gene’ theory postulates that during times of abundance and lack of adversity, the so-called ‘Stupid Gene’ (DDD) rarely manifests.

Stupid Gene proponents claim that the situation in Coastal East Africa demonstrates the soundness of the theory.  Says Dr. Emil Haagerdäddi, a senior fellow at The East Africa Maritime Council, an Omaha, Nebraska-based think tank.

You’ll notice that during the times of abundance–when there are a lot of poorly-defended ships in East African waters, we see fewer pirate casualties.

The really interesting thing is when there are fewer ships off the Horn, and a greater presence of well-armed naval vessels on the lookout for pirates, we’re seeing a lot more dead pirates.  We believe that pirates who exhibit DDD {the ‘Stupid Gene’} are the ones attacking the naval vessels and getting slaughtered for it.

But in this way, healthier and stronger pirates reap the rewards of plunder, and pass on their superior genes to generations of freebooters yet unborn, thus making the community as a whole stronger.  It’s quite beautiful, really.

The 'Stupid Gene': Kind Of A Bummer, But Necessary For The Greater Good

Presumably it’s not as beautiful for those pirates afflicted with DDD, scores of whom perish each month at the hands of navy personnel or well-armed merchant seamen.  Dr. Haagerdäddi counters, “No one cares what stupid people think.”

But scientists do care how stupid people act.  If further scientific research does uncover proof of a ‘Stupid Gene,’ it will go a long way toward answering questions which have for centuries bedeviled philosophers, social scientists and other observers of slackjawed halfwits.