Navigation Links
Battle of the sexes benefits offspring, says research

Parents compensate for a lazy partner by working harder to bring up their offspring, but not enough to completely make up for the lack of parenting, says research by bird biologists at the University of Bath.

In nature, it is quite rare for both parents to be involved in raising young, but it is very common in birds, some fish and primates including humans. Researchers therefore wanted to find out why, for some animals, parents stick together.

The study, published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, analysed more than 50 previous studies of birds to understand why and how they share their parental duties.

The research was led by Dr Freya Harrison and Professor Tams Szkely at the Biodiversity lab at the University of Bath, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Bristol and the University of Debrecen (Hungary).

Dr Harrison explained: "Caring for offspring is essential for their survival in many species, but it is also very costly in time and effort. Time spent bringing up your young means lost opportunities for remating and having more offspring, so parents face a trade-off between caring for current offspring and creating future offspring.

"This creates a conflict of interest between parents, since each parent would benefit by leaving their partner holding the baby whilst they go off and start a new brood elsewhere.

"This is exactly what happens in most animal species, so we wanted to understand how and why animals like birds and primates have evolved the tendency to share their parental duties."

The researchers analysed data published over the last 30 years on parenting in birds to see if there was a common pattern in the behaviour of all the species studied.

Dr Harrison said: "In our study we found that if one parent starts slacking off or deserts, its mate works harder to bring up the brood, but not so hard as to completely compensate for their partner's laziness.

"Some say that marriage is a state of antagonistic cooperation - in this case we found that the secret to a stable pairing was to only partially compensate for your lazy partner's failings, to make sure that they stick around."

Professor Innes Cuthill, Professor of Behavioural Ecology at the University of Bristol, added: "Of course, we are not claiming that fish and birds, or even humans, are necessarily making a consciously calculated decision.

"More likely there are innate rules for responding, perhaps modified through learning, that allow successful participation in joint activities without leaving room for being exploited."

The researchers hope that this work could help scientists better understand how biparental care has evolved in humans.


Contact: Vicky Just
University of Bath

Related biology news :

1. Older climbers face uphill battle on Mount Everest
2. Amber specimen captures ancient chemical battle
3. In promiscuous antelopes, the battle of the sexes gets flipped
4. LSU and Ohio State battle on football field, collaborate in research field
5. In Vietnam, alongside progress, a battle for life
6. Color My Pyramid nutrition education program battles obesity in DC schools
7. Researchers identify potential new weapon in battle against HIV infection
8. Carbon sinks losing the battle with rising emissions
9. Queens scientists find new way to battle MRSA
10. The battle for CRTC2: How obesity increases the risk for diabetes
11. Evolution of the sexes: What a fungus can tell us
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Battle of the sexes benefits offspring, says research
(Date:11/26/2015)... Research and Markets ( ) has ... - Technology and Patent Infringement Risk Analysis" report ... --> Fingerprint sensors using capacitive technology represent ... sensor vendor Idex forecasts an increase of 360% of ... and of the fingerprint sensor market between 2014 and ...
(Date:11/20/2015)... -- NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the "Company"), ... commerce market and creator of the Wocket® smart wallet, ... interviewed on The RedChip Money Report television ... Bloomberg Europe , Bloomberg Asia, Bloomberg Australia, and ... ) ("NXT-ID" or the "Company"), a biometric authentication company ...
(Date:11/19/2015)... MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. , Nov. 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... authentication market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes BIO-key with the ... Strategy Leadership. Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this ... comprehensive product line catering to the needs of the ... which the product line meets and expands on customer ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... -- Studies reveal the differences in species ... the way for more effective treatment for one of the ... --> --> Gum disease ... cats, yet relatively little was understood about the bacteria associated ... conducted by researchers from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015  Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. ... Gorman , President and CEO of Neurocrine Biosciences, will ... Conference in New York . ... visit the website approximately 5 minutes prior to the ... replay of the presentation will be available on the ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OPBAP) has been formalized with the signing of ... team leaders met with OPBAP leaders Capt. Karl Minter and Capt. Albert Glenn ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , November 25, 2015 ... Report is a professional and in-depth study on ...      (Logo: ) , ... the industry including definitions, classifications, applications and industry ... for the international markets including development trends, competitive ...
Breaking Biology Technology: