Meerkat helpers do not specialize in particular activities

@article{CluttonBrock2003MeerkatHD,
  title={Meerkat helpers do not specialize in particular activities},
  author={Tim H. Clutton‐Brock and Andrew F Russell and Lynda L. Sharpe},
  journal={Animal Behaviour},
  year={2003},
  volume={66},
  pages={531-540}
}
Differences in the relative contributions of individual helpers to cooperative activities in vertebrate societies are sometimes interpreted as evidence of functional specialization and have been compared with the incipient subcaste systems found in some social insects. However, it is not yet clear whether some helpers specialize in particular tasks throughout their life span or whether variation in cooperative behaviour represents a temporary, age-related polyethism. We describe the development… 
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References

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In vertebrate societies where young are reared communally, nonbreeding helpers are usually closely related to young but often vary widely in their contributions to feeding them. Evolutionary
Costs of cooperative behaviour in suricates (Suricata suricatta)
TLDR
Here it is provided of one form of cooperative behaviour that is seldom performed by parents and has substantial energetic costs to helpers, in the cooperative mongoose, Suricata suricatta, non–breeding adults commonly babysit young pups at the natal burrow for a day at a time.
Cost minimization by helpers in cooperative vertebrates
TLDR
In cooperative meerkats, Suricata suricatta, helping is associated with substantial short-term growth costs but limited long-term fitness costs, and helpers, like breeders, are able to reduce the fitness consequences of these costs through behavioral modifications.
Breeder-Helper Conflict in a Cichlid Fish With Broodcare Helpers: an Experimental Analysis
TLDR
Experimental and field evidence suggests that 3 factors are ultimately important for the breeder/helper relationship: reproductive parasitism by mature helpers, eventual cannibalism on breeders' eggs and competition for shelter within the territory.
Evolution and Development of Sex Differences in Cooperative Behavior in Meerkats
TLDR
It is shown that female meerkat helpers contribute more to rearing young than males and that female helpers feed female pups more frequently than males, which support the view that direct, mutualistic benefits are important in the evolution of specialized cooperative behavior.
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TLDR
A pattern of division of labor based on relative age can be generated and modulated by social interactions and shows how increasing task demands can be met by a decrease in the ages of first performance of, and an increase in the proportions of individuals engaged in, various tasks.
Helping is costly to young birds in cooperatively breeding white-winged choughs
TLDR
It is shown that the contribution of young helpers (one year old and less) to incubation depends on the group in which they live, and that the needs of the group influence whether young birds provide help.
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TLDR
It is shown that in wild groups of cooperative meerkats, Suricata suricatta, reductions in the ratio of helpers to pups depress the daily weight gain and growth of pups and thedaily weight gain of helpers.
Breeding success in cooperative meerkats: effects of helper number and maternal state
TLDR
The number of helpers in a group was correlated with the number of litters that females delivered each year, probably because females in large groups gave birth earlier and had shorter interbirth intervals, and helper number may also have a significant positive effect.
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