Browsing by Subject "cooperative breeding"

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  • Raulo, Aura; Dantzer, Ben (2018)
    The causes and consequences of individual differences in animal behavior and stress physiology are increasingly studied in wild animals, yet the possibility that stress physiology underlies individual variation in social behavior has received less attention. In this review, we bring together these study areas and focus on understanding how the activity of the vertebrate neuroendocrine stress axis (HPA-axis) may underlie individual differences in social behavior in wild animals. We first describe a continuum of vertebrate social behaviors spanning from initial social tendencies (proactive behavior) to social behavior occurring in reproductive contexts (parental care, sexual pair-bonding) and lastly to social behavior occurring in nonreproductive contexts (nonsexual bonding, group-level cooperation). We then perform a qualitative review of existing literature to address the correlative and causal association between measures of HPA-axis activity (glucocorticoid levels or GCs) and each of these types of social behavior. As expected, elevated HPA-axis activity can inhibit social behavior associated with initial social tendencies (approaching conspecifics) and reproduction. However, elevated HPA-axis activity may also enhance more elaborate social behavior outside of reproductive contexts, such as alloparental care behavior. In addition, the effect of GCs on social behavior can depend upon the sociality of the stressor (cause of increase in GCs) and the severity of stress (extent of increase in GCs). Our review shows that the while the associations between stress responses and sociality are diverse, the role of HPA-axis activity behind social behavior may shift toward more facilitating and less inhibiting in more social species, providing insight into how stress physiology and social systems may co-evolve.
  • Koski, Sonja E.; Buchanan-Smith, Hannah M.; Ash, Hayley; Burkart, Judith M.; Bugnyar, Thomas; Weiss, Alexander (2017)
    Increasing evidence suggests that personality structure differs between species, but the evolutionary reasons for this variation are not fully understood. We built on earlier research on New World monkeys to further elucidate the evolution of personality structure in primates. We therefore examined personality in 100 family-reared adult common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) from 3 colonies on a 60-item questionnaire. Principal components analyses revealed 5 domains that were largely similar to those found in a previous study on captive, ex-pet, or formerly laboratory-housed marmosets that were housed in a sanctuary. The interrater reliabilities of domain scores were consistent with the interrater reliabilities of domain scores found in other species, including humans. Four domainsdmdash; conscientiousness, agreeableness, inquisitiveness, and assertiveness-resembled personality domains identified in other nonhuman primates. The remaining domain, patience, was specific to common marmosets. We used linear models to test for sex and age differences in the personality domains. Males were lower than females in patience, and this difference was smaller in older marmosets. Older marmosets were lower in inquisitiveness. Finally, older males and younger females had higher scores in agreeableness than younger males and older females. These findings suggest that cooperative breeding may have promoted the evolution of social cognition and influenced the structure of marmoset prosocial personality characteristics.
  • Vitikainen, Emma I. K.; Thompson, Faye J.; Marshall, Harry H.; Cant, Michael A. (2019)
    Kin selection theory defines the conditions for which altruism or 'helping' can be favoured by natural selection. Tests of this theory in cooperatively breeding animals have focused on the short-term benefits to the recipients of help, such as improved growth or survival to adulthood. However, research on early-life effects suggests that there may be more durable, lifelong fitness impacts to the recipients of help, which in theory should strengthen selection for helping. Here, we show in cooperatively breeding banded mongooses (Mungos mungo) that care received in the first 3 months of life has lifelong fitness benefits for both male and female recipients. In this species, adult helpers called 'escorts' form exclusive one-to-one caring relationships with specific pups (not their own offspring), allowing us to isolate the effects of being escorted on later reproduction and survival. Pups that were more closely escorted were heavier at sexual maturity, which was associated with higher lifetime reproductive success for both sexes. Moreover, for female offspring, lifetime reproductive success increased with the level of escorting received per se, over and above any effect on body mass. Our results suggest that early-life social care has durable benefits to offspring of both sexes in this species. Given the well-established developmental effects of early-life care in laboratory animals and humans, we suggest that similar effects are likely to be widespread in social animals more generally. We discuss some of the implications of durable fitness benefits for the evolution of intergenerational helping in cooperative animal societies, including humans. This article is part of the theme issue 'Developing differences: early-life effects and evolutionary medicine'.
  • Rotkirch, Anna; Janhunen, Kristiina (2009)
    The recent emphasis on humans as cooperative breeders invites new research on human family dynamics. In this paper we look at maternal guilt as a consequence of conditional maternal investment. Solicited texts written by Finnish mothers with under school-aged children in 2007 (n = 63) described maternal emotions perceived as difficult and forbidden. Content analysis of guilt-inducing situations showed that guilt arose from diverging interest and negotiations between the mother and child (i.e., classic parent-offspring conflict). Also cultural expectations of extensive and perpetual high-quality maternal investment or the “motherhood myth” induced guilt in mothers. We argue that guilt plays an important role in maternal-investment regulation. Maternal guilt is predicted to vary with social and cultural context but also to show universal characteristics due to parent-offspring conflict and allomaternal manipulation. Results are preliminary and intended to stimulate research into the mechanisms, gender differences and cultural variations of guilt and other social emotions in human parenting.