It Takes a Village to Raise a Meerkat

Living in the flat, arid landscape of the Kalahari, meerkats are one of the most cooperative species of mammal on the planet. The scarcity of food and few places to hide from predators has led them to live in groups where they share the tasks of foraging and keeping watch.

But these diminutive animals also cooperate in ways that are rare among mammals. Meerkats live in large families of up to 50 individuals, but only one dominant male and female will breed while their pups are fed and raised by the others in the group.

“Only about one in six or seven female meerkats gets to breed successfully,” explained Tim Clutton-Brock, a zoologist at the University of Cambridge who has spent 24 years studying social behavior in meerkats in the Kalahari.

Sie lesen eine Vorschau. Registrieren Sie sich, um mehr zu lesen.

Mehr von Nautilus

Nautilus6 min gelesen
The Big Bang Is Hard Science. It Is Also a Creation Story.: Even with its explanatory power, Big Bang theory takes its place in a long line of myths.
In some ways, the history of science is the history of a philosophical resistance to mythical explanations of reality. In the ancient world, when we asked “Where did the world come from?” we were told creation myths. In the modern world, we are inste
Nautilus9 min gelesenScience
To Fix the Climate, Tell Better Stories: The missing climate change narrative.
Here are two sets of statements from far-distant opposites in the climate change debate. The first is from Naomi Klein, who in her book This Changes Everything paints a bleak picture of a global socioeconomic system gone wrong: “There is a direct and
Nautilus9 min gelesenPsychology
Our Brains Tell Stories So We Can Live: Without inner narratives we would be lost in a chaotic world.
We are all storytellers; we make sense out of the world by telling stories. And science is a great source of stories. Not so, you might argue. Science is an objective collection and interpretation of data. I completely agree. At the level of the stud