A study in behavioral ecology, he detected “surprisingly parallel phenomena” between the distribution of wealth and privilege in the animal world and those we observe in human society. Research concludes that animals, like us, also inherit ‘non-genetic goods’ and external to each individual in particular, such as nests, territories and tools, which influence the inequalities, skills and survival of new generations. .
Examples cited by researchers in a recently published article include a decades-long practice of North American red squirrels storing food for the enjoyment of their offspring. A mother can pick pineapples in her territory and grant one of her young the “right” to use the territory where these provisions are hidden. The result is that the young squirrels who receive these resources survive longer and procreate earlier than those who don’t.
Several other examples show that hereditary privileges are not exclusive to mammals, but are also observed in different species of fish, birds and insects:
- Newborn hyenas that occupy a higher position in the herd hierarchy inherit priority access to food from their mother within the shared territory.
- Successful black grouse hatchlings in a courtship assembly are given a better courtship position when their father is near death and after death, which improves their chances of mating. What else, inherit parental territory.
- Some clownfish inherit a larger sea anemone from their parent than other congeners, allowing both generations to hide better from predators and reproduce more safely in their tentacles.
- Some privileged female wasps inherit their mother’s nestswhile others do not, taking advantage of their lineages over others “to further perpetuate the cycle of privilege,” according to the authors.
- The young of several species of chimpanzee and capuchin monkeys can receive from their father or mother stone tools for cracking nuts and the knowledge to use them. These people are in an advantageous situation in terms of their ability to access a key food resource.
The researchers see “deep evolutionary roots in the inequality of wealth in the tree of life” and believe that by studying them, the same phenomenon could be better understood among people. In addition, the team of American ethologists underlines the multigenerational character of animal inequality.
Superiority in something accumulates from generation to generation, and privileges are perpetuated, while the offspring of disadvantaged individuals receive less food, are more often exposed to various dangers, leave fewer offspring, and sometimes become extinct altogether. .
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