New research suggests that cooperative breeding makes mammal species such as meerkats better suited to dry, harsh climates.
One of the most interesting facts about mole rats – that, as with ants and termites, individuals specialise in particular tasks throughout their lives – turns out to be wrong. Instead, a new study led by the University of Cambridge shows that individuals perform different roles at different ages and that age rather than caste membership accounts for contrasts in their behaviour.
Over the last fifty years, long-term studies following individual animals over entire lifespans have allowed insight into the evolutionary influence of social behaviour – finally fulfilling the holistic approach to evolution first suggested by Darwin, argues the author of a new milestone work on mammal societies.
Mothers who lose their pups to infanticide by the dominant female in a meerkat group often then provide the dominant female with a wet-nurse service, say researchers who have carried out the most comprehensive study of wet-nursing in a single species to date.
A new study by the Kalahari Meerkat project of the University of Cambridge shows that female meerkats fight more than their male counterparts for dominance.