Navigation Links
Meerkats' sinister side is secret to their success, study shows
Date:7/22/2014

The darker side of meerkats which sees them prevent their daughters from breeding, and kill their grandchildren is explained in a new study.

Research into the desert creatures which live in groups with a dominant breeding pair and many adult helpers shows that the alpha female can flourish when it maintains the sole right to breed.

The study shows how this way of life, also found in many animals such as ants and bees, can prove effective despite its sinister side.

Dominant meerkats control breeding within their group through violence, by banishing any other females who reproduce, killing their offspring, to ensure plentiful resources for the alpha pair's pups.

Scientists studied the impact of giving contraceptive jabs to adult female helpers in 12 groups of meerkats in the Kalahari Desert, to ensure that they could not reproduce for six months.

During this time, dominant females were less aggressive towards helpers and foraged more, gaining more weight and having bigger pups. The female helper meerkats experienced less violence than usual from the alpha female, and provided more care and food for the pups.

The study, published in Nature Communications, was carried out by the Universities of Edinburgh, Cambridge, Exeter and Pretoria with the Kalahari Meerkat Project in South Africa. It was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council.

Dr Matthew Bell of the University of Edinburgh, School of Biological Sciences, who led the study, said: "The meerkat way of life is a paradox, in which alpha females will attack their daughters, banish them from the group and infanticise their offspring.

"Our study reveals that dominant animals are worse off when subordinates in their group try to breed explaining why they brutally suppress others much of the time. We expected this result, but its impact exceeded our expectations."


'/>"/>
Contact: Catriona Kelly
Catriona.Kelly@ed.ac.uk
44-131-651-4401
University of Edinburgh
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1

Related biology news :

1. Cell membrane proteins give up their secrets
2. Sequencing electric eel genome unlocks shocking secrets
3. Scientists unravel the genetic secrets of natures master of mimicry
4. The secret cargo of mosquitoes
5. Novel drug target linked to insulin secretion and type 2 diabetes treatment
6. MIPT experts reveal the secret of radiation vulnerability
7. Beer foam secrets tapped in new study
8. Arizona Sate University scientists take steps to unlock the secrets to the fountain of youth
9. Scripps Florida scientists reveal molecular secrets behind resveratrols health benefits
10. Reconstructed ancient ocean reveals secrets about the origin of life
11. NREL unlocking secrets of new solar material
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/1/2016)... 2016  Today, the first day of American Heart ... develop a first of its kind workplace health solution ... In the first application of Watson ... ), and Welltok will create a new offering that ... analytics, delivered on Welltok,s health optimization platform. The effort ...
(Date:1/27/2016)... CHESTER, Ohio , Jan. 27, 2016  Rite ... supplier based in West Chester, Ohio ... their award winning service staff, based in ... technical capacity and ability to provide modifications, installations and ... John Dovalina , CEO of PLUS, commented, "PLUS has ...
(Date:1/22/2016)... , January 22, 2016 ... the addition of the  "Global Behavioral ... offering. --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) ... "Global Behavioral Biometric Market 2016-2020"  report ... Research and Markets ( http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) has ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... BioPharma Selling Solutions (Spectra) is a new Contract ... experience, expertise, operational delivery and customer focus to ... in concert with industry leading commercial experts, the ... needs of its clients by providing value-based creative ... non-personal promotion. --> ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... 11, 2016  Dovetail Genomics™ LLC today announced that ... for a planned metagenomic genome assembly service. Richard ... genome assembly method in a talk on Friday, February ... Technology conference in Orlando, Fla. ... datasets is difficult. Using its proprietary Chicago ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... for more than 150 years, continues today to pursue the highest level of ... of analytical instruments: the AR9 Refractometer and the AR5 Refractometer. Accurate, reliable ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... MONTREAL , Febr. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BioAmber Inc. ... is pleased to announce that Mitsui & Co. Ltd., ... bio-based succinic acid plant, is investing an additional CDN$25 ... equity, increasing its stake from 30% to 40%.  Mitsui ... of bio-succinic acid produced in Sarnia ...
Breaking Biology Technology: