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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Gonna Need a Bigger House on the Prarie

A scientific study says polyandry pays off for female prarie dogs. As always, I note that what happens in other species isn't always applicable to humans, but this is another example refuting the claim that polyandry is "not natural." In this case, polyandry has increased the likelihood that a female will have more surviving offspring. I found this report at phys.org.


Multiple mates worth the risk for female prairie dogs
Credit: Elaine Miller Bond (elainemillerbond.com)

Mating with more than one male increases reproductive success for female prairie dogs, despite an increase in risks. This is according to a new study published in The Journal of Mammalogy by behavioral ecologist John Hoogland, Professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Appalachian Laboratory.

Mating entails significant costs such as increased susceptibility to predation and increased exposure to diseases and parasites. So why would a female prairie dog take the risk to mate with multiple males? The answer is simple and clear: female that mate with two or more males rear more offspring than those that mate with only one.
So, if you're a woman looking to have a lot of offspring, polyandry might be a strategy.


Prairie dogs are herbivorous rodents of the squirrel family, and forage aboveground from dawn until dusk. They live in colonies of territorial, contiguous family groups that contain one or two sexually mature adult males, three or four sexually mature adult females, and one or two sexually immature yearling males.
Know any families like that?


More information: "Why do female prairie dogs copulate with more than one male? Insights from long-term research" was published in the September issue of The Journal of Mammalogy: www.umces.edu/sites/default/files/Polyandry%2C%20JM%2C%20September%202013.pdf

I find science fascinating.
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