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Sex differences in cooperative coalitions: a mammalian perspective


Smith, Jennifer E; Jaeggi, Adrian V; Holmes, Rose K; Silk, Joan B (2023). Sex differences in cooperative coalitions: a mammalian perspective. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences, 378(1868):20210426.

Abstract

In group-living species, cooperative tactics can offset asymmetries in resource-holding potential between individuals and alter the outcome of intragroup conflicts. Differences in the kinds of competitive pressures that males and females face might influence the benefits they gain from forming intragroup coalitions. We predicted that there would be a female bias in intragroup coalitions because females (1) are more like to live with kin than males are, and (2) compete over resources that are more readily shared than resources males compete over. We tested this main prediction using information about coalition formation across mammalian species and phylogenetic comparative analyses. We found that for nearly all species in which intragroup coalitions occur, members of both sexes participate, making this the typical mammalian pattern. The presence and frequency of female or male coalitions were not strongly associated with key socio-ecological factors like resource defensibility, sexual dimorphism or philopatry. This suggests that once the ability to form intragroup coalitions emerges in one sex, it is likely to emerge in the other sex as well and that there is no strong phylogenetic legacy of sex differences in this form of cooperation.
This article is part of the theme issue ‘Cooperation among women: evolutionary and cross-cultural perspectives’.

Abstract

In group-living species, cooperative tactics can offset asymmetries in resource-holding potential between individuals and alter the outcome of intragroup conflicts. Differences in the kinds of competitive pressures that males and females face might influence the benefits they gain from forming intragroup coalitions. We predicted that there would be a female bias in intragroup coalitions because females (1) are more like to live with kin than males are, and (2) compete over resources that are more readily shared than resources males compete over. We tested this main prediction using information about coalition formation across mammalian species and phylogenetic comparative analyses. We found that for nearly all species in which intragroup coalitions occur, members of both sexes participate, making this the typical mammalian pattern. The presence and frequency of female or male coalitions were not strongly associated with key socio-ecological factors like resource defensibility, sexual dimorphism or philopatry. This suggests that once the ability to form intragroup coalitions emerges in one sex, it is likely to emerge in the other sex as well and that there is no strong phylogenetic legacy of sex differences in this form of cooperation.
This article is part of the theme issue ‘Cooperation among women: evolutionary and cross-cultural perspectives’.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
Life Sciences > General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Agricultural and Biological Sciences, General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
Language:English
Date:16 January 2023
Deposited On:09 Jan 2023 08:48
Last Modified:28 Jun 2024 01:37
Publisher:Royal Society Publishing
ISSN:0962-8436
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2021.0426
PubMed ID:36440559
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)