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Individual contributions to babysitting in a cooperative mongoose, Suricata suricatta.


Clutton-Brock, T H; Brotherton, P N; O'Riain, M J; Griffin, A S; Gaynor, D; Sharpe, L; Kansky, R; Manser, M B; McIlrath, G M (2000). Individual contributions to babysitting in a cooperative mongoose, Suricata suricatta. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 267(1140):301-305.

Abstract

Evolutionary explanations of cooperative breeding based on kin selection have predicted that the individual contributions made by different helpers to rearing young should be correlated with their degree of kinship to the litter or brood they are raising. In the cooperative mongoose or meerkat, Suricata suricatta, helpers babysit pups at the natal burrow for the first month of pup life and frequent babysitters suffer substantial weight losses over the period of babysitting. Large differences in contributions exist between helpers, which are correlated with their age, sex and weight but not with their kinship to the young they are raising. Provision of food to some group members raises the contributions of individuals to babysitting. We discuss the implications of these results for evolutionary explanations of cooperative behaviour.

Evolutionary explanations of cooperative breeding based on kin selection have predicted that the individual contributions made by different helpers to rearing young should be correlated with their degree of kinship to the litter or brood they are raising. In the cooperative mongoose or meerkat, Suricata suricatta, helpers babysit pups at the natal burrow for the first month of pup life and frequent babysitters suffer substantial weight losses over the period of babysitting. Large differences in contributions exist between helpers, which are correlated with their age, sex and weight but not with their kinship to the young they are raising. Provision of food to some group members raises the contributions of individuals to babysitting. We discuss the implications of these results for evolutionary explanations of cooperative behaviour.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2000
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:15
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:14
Publisher:Royal Society of London
ISSN:0962-8452
Publisher DOI:10.1098/rspb.2000.1000
PubMed ID:10714885

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