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Byline: Lawrence Spohn email@example.com / 823-3611
The phone in Randy Thornhill's office at the University of New Mexico is virtually silent, a victim of the heated reaction to his recently published research on the science of rape.
"It got so bad, they had to change the number," said the soft-spoken Thornhill, a UNM Regents Professor of Biology.
"Most of it was media, but there were some people who obviously don't understand or agree with us," he said waving at the phone. "That thing was ringing incessantly."
Thornhill is co-author, along with anthropologist Craig Palmer of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, of the book "A Natural History of Rape."
Now being distributed by the MIT Press well ahead of a planned April release, the book and an associated article in the journal The Sciences entitled "Why Men Rape" have drawn fire from women's groups, rape counselors and other scientists.
Thornhill and Palmer argue that rape has evolutionary origins as a successful male strategy for reproduction, a concept that is directly contrary to current social wisdom that rape is a crime of male violence and domination of women.
In an interview this week in his modest office, Thornhill said he is trying now to resume some semblance of a normal life, assisted by the biology department office, which screens calls for him, and students, who help screen his …