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Infanticide in higher mammals

Sorry if a similar discussion has been started elsewhere. I did not find it.

What has been bothering me for some time now is the documented infanticide by males of certain species in order to get a female receptive to mating. Of course the infanticide always concerns the offspring of an other male.

I live in black bear country and it happens around me all the time. This behaviour has been observed in lions and may have been observed in dolphins as well.

I can see where a selfish gene would cause such behavior but it is also very much anti life and anti survival of the species.

The enormous investment that the female has made in carrying those cubs to full term, delivering them alive and well and introducing them to life up to that point is all wasted when some testosterone soaked male feels it's time to sow some oats.

Are the selfish gene and survival of the species working at cross purposes here?

TAGGED: BEHAVIOR, EVOLUTION, SCIENCE


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