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Nursing gerbils unravel benefit of multiple mothers in collective mammals
Date:1/9/2013

th influenza and B. burgdorferi, suggesting that the females nursed the young their own and those of the other female evenly. These results suggest that allosuckling is indeed intended to expose newborn animals to a host of antibodies.

This benefit sheds light on a peculiar arrangement in cooperative mammals that ecologists have puzzled over, the authors wrote. In social species, females usually fall into dominant or subordinate groups with the subordinate females typically involved in tending to the young produced by dominant females. Yet, in many cases, subordinate females are "allowed" to breed. Garnier and his colleagues suggest that the potentially larger antibody pool available through nursing might be one of the reasons why.


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Contact: Morgan Kelly
mgnkelly@princeton.edu
609-258-5729
Princeton University
Source:Eurekalert

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