Navigation Links
Battle of the sexes benefits offspring, says research
Date:7/6/2009

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
v.j.just@bath.ac.uk
44-012-253-86883
University of Bath
Source:Eurekalert  

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:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Battle of the sexes benefits offspring, says research
(Date:4/28/2016)... FRANCISCO and BANGALORE, India , ... of EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: ... provider, today announced a global partnership that will ... way to use mobile banking and payment services. ... is a key innovation area for financial services, but it ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... April 15, 2016  A new partnership announced ... accurate underwriting decisions in a fraction of the ... priced and high-value life insurance policies to consumers ... With Force Diagnostics, rapid testing (A1C, Cotinine ... readings (blood pressure, weight, pulse, BMI, and activity ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... 2016  Genomics firm Nabsys has completed a financial ... Bready , M.D., who returned to the company in ... leadership team, including Chief Technology Officer, John Oliver ... Nurnberg and Vice President of Software and Informatics, ... Dr. Bready served as CEO of Nabsys from ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   Boston Biomedical ... novel compounds designed to target cancer stemness pathways, ... been granted Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. ... of gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. ... designed to inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 A person commits a crime, and the ... track the criminal down. An outbreak of foodborne ... Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track down the bacteria ... far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA has increasingly used a complex, ... foodborne illnesses. Put as simply as possible, whole genome sequencing ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Charm Sciences, Inc. ... test has received AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. , “This is another AOAC-RI ... stated Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory and Industrial Affairs. “The Peel Plate ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university competition that asks ... systems and biotechnology, announced its winning teams at the ... York City . The teams, chosen ... MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the daylong summit. Keynote ... of architecture and design, and Suzanne Lee , ...
Breaking Biology Technology: