Navigation Links
Wild meerkats school their young

University of Cambridge scientists have discovered that older meerkats teach pups how to obtain food by incrementally introducing dead, injured and then live prey. Although learning per se wouldn't be surprising, whether wild mammals teach their young was still debated. The findings were published in this week's edition of the journal Science.

Meerkats live in groups of three to 40 individuals in the arid regions of southern Africa. Each group includes a dominant male and female who produce over 80% of the pups. However, helpers (meerkats older than 90 days) and parents of both sexes aid in rearing the young.

Pups (meerkats younger than 90 days of age) are initially incapable of finding their own prey and therefore rely on provisions from other members of the group by responding to their begging calls for food. Meerkats typically feed on a range of unwieldy and often dangerous prey (including scorpions).

The Cambridge researchers discovered that in order for the helpers to teach the pups how to handle food without putting them in harm's way, the older meerkats would kill or disable the prey before providing it to the pups. In the case of the scorpions, they often removed the sting. The helpers would then modify the frequency with which they killed or disabled the prey according to the pups' age, recognised by their call, gradually introducing pups to live prey as they became older.

Alex Thornton, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, stated, "A greater understanding of the evolution of teaching is essential if we are to further our knowledge of human cultural evolution and for us to examine the relations between culture in our own species and cultural behaviour in other animals."

Like any good teacher, the helpers would also monitor the pup after they had provided it with food. If the pup was reluctant to handle the prey, the older meerkat would nudge the item towards them to encourage it. Additionall
'"/>

Source:University of Cambridge


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Dominant meerkats render rivals infertile
2. Very low birth weight linked to reduced quality of life in pre-school children
3. Priming embryonic stem cells to fulfill their promise
4. Protein offers way to stop microscopic parasites in their tracks
5. Flocking together: Study shows how animal groups find their way
6. Where bacteria get their genes
7. Chickadees can help humans get their bearings
8. Bacteria use hosts immune response to their competitive advantage
9. Structures of marine toxins provide insight into their effectiveness as cancer drugs
10. Beauty queens urge girls not to sacrifice their bones
11. Researchers learn how blood vessel cells cope with their pressure-packed job
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
TAG: Wild meerkats school their young

(Date:9/19/2014)... thousands of years has adapted to the arctic cold, and ... cold dangerous for you. , This is happening to the ... provoking substance, called nonylphenol, comes from the use of certain ... a endocrine disruptor, but when entering the worm it has ... the cells in its body from cold damage. , ...
(Date:9/18/2014)... PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State University researchers have developed ... sediment to power waste cleanup in rural areas. ... lead to an inexpensive and quick way to clean ... treatment plants while reducing pollution. , Professor Haluk ... College of Engineering and Architecture discuss the system in ...
(Date:9/18/2014)... Colo., USA Miranda, a small, icy moon of ... enigmatic bodies in the solar system. Despite its relatively ... of intense resurfacing that resulted in the formation of ... polygonal-shaped regions called coronae. , These coronae are ... at least 200 km across. Arden corona, the largest, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Environmental pollutants make worms susceptible to cold 2Environmental pollutants make worms susceptible to cold 3Researchers develop unique waste cleanup for rural areas 2Miranda: An icy moon deformed by tidal heating 2Miranda: An icy moon deformed by tidal heating 3Miranda: An icy moon deformed by tidal heating 4Miranda: An icy moon deformed by tidal heating 5Miranda: An icy moon deformed by tidal heating 6Miranda: An icy moon deformed by tidal heating 7
... WASHINGTON The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ... EPA is releasing a database, called ToxRefDB, which allows ... thousands of toxicity testing results on hundreds of chemicals. ... results. "Tens of thousands of chemicals are in ...
... This release is available in German . 48 ... spray at the start of the experiment, the other half a ... charged situations in the form of a crying child, a girl ... then invited to express the depth of feeling they experienced for ...
... crawla bug that crawls onto your lips while you sleep, ... then gorges on your blood. And if that,s not insult ... potentially deadly disease. Now Jean-Paul Paluzzi, a PhD ... that manipulating physiology to prevent the insects from leaving their ...
Cached Biology News:US Environmental Protection Agency opens access to chemical information 2Hormone spray improves male sensitivity 2The kiss of death: Research targets lethal disease spread by insect that bites lips 2
(Date:9/20/2014)... 20, 2014 HealthTronics, Inc. ... interventional radiology products and services, has signed a ... Clinicon Corporation for its high precision ... of minimally invasive, mobile, surgical technology—offering more choices ... the agreement, HealthTronics will make available Clinicon’s FDA-cleared ...
(Date:9/19/2014)... electricity, to move data would consume much less ... concern as chips, transistor counts rise. , Of ... light emitters, modulators, and detectors emitters are ... for optical chips is molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), which ... single, atom-thick layer. Other experimental on-chip light emitters ...
(Date:9/19/2014)... -- Pfenex Inc. (NYSE MKT: PFNX), a clinical-stage biotechnology ... to manufacture proteins including biosimilar therapeutics, today announced that ... Annual NewsMakers in the Biotech Industry conference in ... chief executive officer of Pfenex, will provide an overview ... Friday, September 26, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. EDT/7:00 a.m. ...
(Date:9/19/2014)... , The first grants awarded ... Endocrinology (ESPE) Meeting  Investment supports innovative projects ... the field of growth  , EMD Serono, ... , today announced the first recipients of the ... were announced during a Satellite Symposium organized by EMD ...
Breaking Biology Technology:HealthTronics Announces Distribution Agreement with Clinicon-Laser Surgical Device Expands Minimally Invasive, Mobile Technology Portfolio 2HealthTronics Announces Distribution Agreement with Clinicon-Laser Surgical Device Expands Minimally Invasive, Mobile Technology Portfolio 3Toward optical chips 2Toward optical chips 3Pfenex to Present at Upcoming Industry Conference on September 26 2EMD Serono Awards Grant for Growth Innovation (GGI) for the First Time 2EMD Serono Awards Grant for Growth Innovation (GGI) for the First Time 3
... the leading,management consulting firm specializing in the pharmaceutical ... Practice will,conduct two workshops at the 44th Drug ... 22 to 26, 2008, at the Boston Convention ... lead a workshop that examines best,practices for accelerated ...
... Xenon,Pharmaceuticals Inc., a drug discovery and development company, ... the Promising Early Stage,Company of the Year Award by ... are delighted to have received this prestigious award, one ... Simon,Pimstone, Xenon,s President and CEO. "This honor is important ...
... The Netherlands, June 17 , - Equens and ... payment processor Equens and supermarket chain Albert Heijn,will begin ... For a period of,six months, customers of Albert Heijn ... fingertips. The objective of the pilot is to,investigate the ...
Cached Biology Technology:Campbell Alliance Clinical Development Practice to Conduct Two Workshops at 44th DIA Annual Meeting 2Campbell Alliance Clinical Development Practice to Conduct Two Workshops at 44th DIA Annual Meeting 3Campbell Alliance Clinical Development Practice to Conduct Two Workshops at 44th DIA Annual Meeting 4Start of First Fingertip Payment Pilot in the Netherlands 2Start of First Fingertip Payment Pilot in the Netherlands 3
... HV high-voltage power supply, with temperature probe, 100-120 ... 5,000 V, 500 mA, and 400 W. The ... between 0 and 90 degrees C during electrophoresis. ... Power cord and instructions are provided. Dimensions are ...
... cooling coil, Trans-Blot cell, provides ... high-intensity, and extended electrophoretic transfer ... Trans-Blot cell. Use of the ... to an external water recirculator, ...
... a wide range of next-generation features into ... new standard for flexible laboratory solutions. It ... including pipetting, dilution, dispensing, and integrations ... powerful and flexible as it is efficient ...
... The Biomek FX P is the latest ... design for greater positional accuracy and increased robustness, ... any application. It can be configured with either ... deck capacity, the Biomek FX P sets ...
Biology Products: