Cooperative Care of Young in Mammals

  title={Cooperative Care of Young in Mammals},
  author={Barbara K{\"o}nig},
  • B. König
  • Published 1 March 1997
  • Biology
  • Naturwissenschaften
The provision of care to non-offspring in animal societies has attracted substantial scientific attention because of its apparent contradiction to the concept of individual selection. In mammals such cooperative care of alien young has been described for both non-breeding and breeding females. I first review the types of non-offspring care that are known from mammals and then discuss the actual and potential fitness benefits and costs for the donors and recipients of this cooperative behaviour… 

No apparent benefits of allonursing for recipient offspring and mothers in the cooperatively breeding meerkat.

This work investigates the potential benefits of allonursing in the cooperatively breeding Kalahari meerkat, where socially subordinate females allonurse the young of a dominant pair without having young of their own, using structural equation modelling to account for the interdependence of maternal traits, litter traits and environmental factors.

Family insurance: kin selection and cooperative breeding in a solitary primate (Microcebus murinus)

Evidence is provided for cooperative nursing and adoption by plural-breeding females in a nocturnal primate, the gray mouse lemur, in which females forage solitarily during the night, but form day-time sleeping groups with one to two other females.

Allomaternal care, life history and brain size evolution in mammals.

Reproductive asynchrony and infanticide in house mice breeding communally

A reduced propensity to cooperate under enhanced exploitation risk in a social mammal

Females in the high conflict situation showed a reduced propensity to give birth as part of a communal nest, therefore adjusting their cooperativeness to the circumstances.

Communal nesting, kinship, and maternal success in a social primate

It is shown that not all mothers participate in communal crèches, but those that did had greater maternal success; communal breeders spent more time feeding and their offspring were more likely to survive.



The Evolution of Alloparental Care and Adoption in Mammals and Birds

  • M. Riedman
  • Biology
    The Quarterly Review of Biology
  • 1982
Alloparental care and adoption of young, aparently altruistic and reproductively costly behaviors, have been reported in over 120 mammalian and 150 avian species. Members of these taxonomically and

Behavioral Heterochrony and the Evolution of Birds' Helping at the Nest: An Unselected Consequences of Communal Breeding?

It is argued that the functional significance of nonbreeders' feeding offspring is irrelevant with respect to the evolutionary origin of the behavior because provisioning offspring is a constraint of many present-day species of birds, including those with helpers at the nest.

Fitness costs of gestation and lactation in wild mammals

Controlling for individual variation, it is shown that in wild red deer (Cervus elaphus L) any costs of gestation to the mother's subsequent survival and reproductive success are slight compared to those of lactation.

Fitness effects of communal rearing in house mice: the role of relatedness versus familiarity

  • B. König
  • Psychology, Biology
    Animal Behaviour
  • 1994
Familiarity with a same-sex partner improved a female's probability of successfully reproducing and the probability that both partners weaned young (egalitarian reproduction) and significantly improved offspring survival until weaning compared with that in social groups with previously unfamiliar females.

Behavioural ecology of kin recognition in house mice

There was no significant difference in the amount of time a female spent nursing or licking own versus alien young under ad libitum and under restricted feeding, and weaning weight was not significantly different.

Helping behaviour in brown hyenas

The results of a 7-yr study of brown hyenas in which most kinships were known are described, and asymmetries in helping among clan members according to sex and relatedness are reported.

The Florida scrub jay : demography of a cooperative-breeding bird

It is found that habitat restraints, rather than kin selection, are the main source of the behavior of Florida Scrub Jays: the goal of increasing the number of close relatives other than descendants in future generations is of relatively minor importance in their cooperative-breeding behavior.

Critique of Helping Behavior in Birds: A Departure from Functional Explanations

It is argued that this solely functional approach restricts the perception of behavior associated with communal breeders as well as the understanding of how such behavior persists within certain populations.