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:3/22/2017)... VILNIUS, Lithuania , March 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... identification and object recognition technologies, today announced the ... development kit (SDK), which provides improved facial recognition ... safety cameras on a single computer. The new ... algorithms to improve accuracy, and it utilizes a ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... At this year,s CeBIT Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel visited the ... the DERMALOG stand together with the Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe. ... largest German biometrics company the two government leaders could see the three ... as DERMALOG´s multi-biometrics system.   Continue Reading ... ...
(Date:3/13/2017)... 13, 2017 Future of security: Biometric Face Matching software  ... ... DERMALOGs Face Matching enables to match face pictures against each other ... identify individuals. (PRNewsFoto/Dermalog Identification Systems) ... DERMALOG,s "Face Matching" is the fastest software for biometric Face Matching on the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/24/2017)... 2017   Sienna Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. , a privately ... that Richard Peterson will join the company ... Peterson, who brings more than two decades of global ... is retiring at the end of April but will ... joins Sienna from Novan, Inc., where he served as ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... BETHESDA, Md. , March 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... company developing DCVax® personalized immune therapies for solid ... on the $7.5 million financing it announced last ... Company sold to several institutional investors securities totaling ... $.26 per share, and 10,000,000 shares of Class ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... 2017 Kineta, Inc., a biotechnology company ... in immuno-oncology, today announced the discovery and characterization ... that activate interferon response factor 3 (IRF3) via ... tumor regression in a murine colon carcinoma mouse ... complete tumor regression to initial drug treatment were ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... Advanced ... the hire of Dr. Sigmund “Sig” Floyd as Vice President ? Global Business ... joint development activities. , “Dr. Floyd’s career has spanned 30 years in the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: