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:3/23/2016)... March 23, 2016 ... Sicherheit Gesichts- und Stimmerkennung mit Passwörtern ... (NASDAQ: MESG ), ein führender Anbieter ... Unternehmen mit SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, um erstmals dessen ... wird die Möglichkeit angeboten, im Rahmen mobiler ...
(Date:3/18/2016)... LONDON , March 18, 2016 ... Established Suppliers of Biometrics, ICT, Manned & Unmanned Vehicles, Physical ... & security companies in the border security market and ... and Europe has led ... your companies improved success. --> defence & ...
(Date:3/14/2016)... March 14, 2016 NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" ... commerce market, announces the airing of a new series of ... week of March 21 st .  The commercials will air ... popular Squawk on the Street show. --> NXTD ... growing mobile commerce market, announces the airing of a new ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... Thailand’s Board of ... 2016 in San Francisco. Located at booth number 7301, representatives from the Thai ... and discuss the Thai biotechnology and life sciences sector. , Deputy Secretary ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... ... Scientists at the University of Athens say they have evidence that the variety ... that could lead to one good one. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted an article ... team evaluated 98 mesothelioma patients who got a second kind of drug ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... , ... May 24, 2016 , ... ... diabetes, and traumatic injuries, will be accelerated by research at Worcester Polytechnic Institute ... engines of wound healing and tissue regeneration. , The novel method, developed by ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The need for blood donations in South Texas and across the nation is ... & Tissue Center, blood donations are on the decline. In fact, donations across the country ... percent in South Texas in the last four years alone. , There is no substitute ...
Breaking Biology Technology: