Mating Rituals of the Animal Kingdom With Dr. Sarah McAnulty - Atlas Obscura Experiences

Mating Rituals of the Animal Kingdom With Dr. Sarah McAnulty

4 sessions
$70 per person
See Dates
$70 per person
$70 per person
See Dates
What We’ll Do

This course has already started! However, you can still join if you’d like to (and we hope you will!). Students enrolling after the course start date and time will have access to a recording of the first session (which will be emailed to participants within 72 hours) as well as the option to attend remaining sessions live. Please select the “Join Late” ticket type to enroll after the course has begun.

In this 4-part lecture series, learn about the elaborate, impressive, and often quite goofy ways different species flirt, get it on, and raise their young.

Course Description

Join squid biologist and science communicator Dr. Sarah McAnulty for a breathtaking spin through the myriad mechanisms species use to swap their genes and the spectacular, complex, and sometimes goofy approaches they take to get there. We’ll cover the rituals that lead up to mating and how animals choose partners, the wild ways different species actually have sex, and how animals care for their young in their first days of life. Along the way, we’ll meet spiders trying to win over their crushes on the dance floor, pufferfish creating works of art for their swoon-worthy muses, and toads guilty of getting under their lovers’ skin, sneakily sliding their babies-to-be into their lovers’ backs. By the end of our time together, you’ll have an unusually eclectic knowledge of how species and individuals across the animal kingdom get their respective freaks on, some interesting approaches to consider incorporating into (or omitting from!!!) your own flirtation game, and a greater appreciation for the fact that you are not a female bed bug.

This course is intended for mature audiences and is not appropriate for children under 16.

Syllabus At A Glance

This course includes four total sessions, each lasting 1.5 hours on four consecutive Tuesdays beginning February 6.

Session 1 (Tuesday, 2/6, 8–9:30 PM ET)| Different Ways of Having Game in the Animal Kingdom: Dance moves, gifts, and other elaborate approaches to flirting

Session 2 (Tuesday, 2/13, 8–9:30 PM ET)| The Nuts, Bolts, (and Sometimes Sperm-Punches?) of Sex: An exploration of all the wild ways different animals mate

Session 3 (Tuesday, 2/20, 8–9:30 PM ET)| Sex Does Not Equal Reproduction: Bat sex; same-sex partnerships and flings in the animal kingdom; and other sexy stuff not always related to baby-making

Session 4 (Tuesday, 2/27, 8–9:30 PM ET)| Parenting 101 Across the Kingdom: How different animals shape their babies’ first chapter of life

Between Sessions

Dr. McAnulty will provide some suggested reading for students who wish to delve deeper into material touched on during class.

Pricing Options

This course is available at three ticket prices. This tiered pricing model is designed to increase access for a wider range of students as well as to support our instructors. In addition to tiered tickets, we offer a limited number of no-pay spots for students who would not otherwise be able to take this course. No-pay spots are selected via a randomized drawing two weeks before each section begins. For more information and to apply for a no-pay spot, please click here. To learn more about our pricing model and randomized selection process for no-pay spots, please visit our FAQ page.

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Atlas Obscura Online Courses

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Where We’ll Be

Once registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite that will provide access to each class meeting. Please save the confirmation email as you’ll use it to access all sessions of your course via Zoom.

About Your Instructor
Sarah McAnulty
Sarah McAnulty

Dr. Sarah McAnulty is a science communicator and squid biologist. She received her Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology working on Hawaiian bobtail squid symbiosis in 2019. She is currently the executive director of Skype a Scientist, a nonprofit that connects over 10,000 classrooms to scientists every year. Dr. McAnulty is a prolific science communicator, with an active presence on Twitter, Instagram, and Tiktok (@SarahMackAttack). She’s been featured by Nature, Forbes, NPR Shortwave, along with many others, for her work. 

What Else You Should Know

This lecture series is designed so students can participate live or watch a recording of each session, after it airs, at a time that is convenient for them. Sessions will take place live over Zoom, with dedicated Q&A segments for students to ask questions via video or chat. Within 72 hours after each session meets, students will receive access to a recording of the live session, which they can watch for up to two weeks after the course concludes.

Instructors may use Google Classroom to communicate with students outside of class. While students aren’t required to use Google Classroom, instructors may use this platform to post resources, discussion questions, or assignments. This platform also offers a space for students to connect with one another about course material between sessions.

We provide closed captioning for all of our courses and can share transcripts upon request. Please reach out to us at if you have any questions, requests, or accessibility needs.

Dates and Availability

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