Young giraffe dispersal decision
Dispersal, the process by which sexually mature animals leave their families, is important for maintaining genetic diversity and is key to the long-term survival of natural populations. For most animals, this means having to take a dangerous journey into the unknown in the hopes of finding a new community to settle in and breed. However, many animal societies, including humans, have structured social communities that overlap spatially. These potentially offer the possibility for mature individuals to disperse socially without major physical movements. New research announced today Journal of animal ecology Shows that this strategy is adopted by young distributed giraffes.
The process of family leaving is known as dispersal of births. Dispersal has been shown to be a basic biological process that reduces the likelihood of mating with parents and ensures that an individual has healthy offspring. But decentralization is above all a social process. Nevertheless, in most cases it has been studied as a spatial process. The family protects the physical domain with the exception of others and forces young people to leave this domain to start their own family. A research team led by Dr Monica Bond, postdoctoral fellow at the University of Zurich (UZH), is testing whether animals living in a structured society of overlapping social communities can be dispersed simply by switching communities. low. By doing this, you can avoid the risk of going through the unknown.
Researchers studied large populations of hundreds of giraffes in northern Tanzania.Use group composition data collected over a huge area of 2,200 km2 The team claim that most male giraffes leave home when they reach reproductive maturity, and a significant proportion simply disperse by moving to a new social community, avoiding the risk of leaving home. discovered. Most young female giraffes, on the other hand, stayed in the same community in which they were born. Although gender differences in birth dispersal are well established in animals, this study helps mature individuals find new social communities without moving into new realms by living in a structured society. It is one of the first studies to show how to provide a unique opportunity.
Complex giraffe society
The UZH and a team of scientists from Pennsylvania State University have previously found that adult female giraffes form distinct social communities. Membership in these communities, made up of around 60 to 90 individual women, is very stable over time, despite the daily mergers and divisions of the social groups of these members. Make. They found that these social dynamics had two major consequences. First, women maintain lasting social bonds with other women in the community, which are likely to last a lifetime. Second, these communities are completely socially structured, different communities using the same physical space. Therefore, individuals from different communities can sometimes meet, but they rarely form groups together.
“This allows young, mature giraffes to work with members of a neighboring female community different from the one they were born into, to avoid accidentally mating with relatives without traveling long distances to unfamiliar and dangerous places.” I wondered if we could build a relationship, ”explains co-author Dr Damien Farine, professor at UZH Eccellenza.
They found that, like most other mammals, the dispersant was predominantly male and the dispersant left around age 4. “The key question was to ask what strategies young men used to find new communities where they could seek out unrelated peers and avoid conflict with loved ones,” said the study’s lead author. Dr Barbara König, professor at UZH, said.
Women stay on the same social network, men change
The team used social media analysis to quantify the social community of adult females and monitored the communities in which the 67 male calves and 70 female calves matured over 7 years were associated. .. Data shows that four in five scattered young men moved to a social community different from the community of birth, while about one in four scattered men were relatively close to their place of birth. I have changed the community as it is. In other words, they were able to disperse without moving far enough.
“This type of social dispersion, in which men stay close to home but participate in different communities of women, is not detected when only spatial movements are measured,” says Bond. to augment.
Giraffes may not be unique in that they can be socially dispersed without leaving their homes. In many other species, including dolphins, elephants and bats, researchers have reported the integration and division of groups into a larger, more stable social community called “split fusion.” “It would be interesting to see if social dispersal in the same physical space is a common strategy adopted by species living in societies with many overlapping social communities.” Bond said. “Given the importance of maintaining a healthy population, the more we understand the process of dispersal at birth, the more we can help protect wildlife. ”
according to giraffe expert Fred Berkovich, who was not involved in the study, said: Genetic diversity Giraffes must maintain large ecosystems that allow animals to disperse into different communities, rather than moving small numbers giraffes to new areas where breeding possibilities are limited. “
Friend problem: giraffes that hang out with others live longer
ML Bond, DE Lee, A. Osgur, DR Farin, B. König. Stay and go: the social dispersion of the giraffe. September 20, 2021. Journal of animal ecology.. DOI: 10.1111 / 1365-2656.13582
Quote: Stay and Go: Decentralization Decision Young Giraffe (September 20, 2021) from https://phys.org/news/2021-09-dispersal-decisions-young-giraffes.html September 20, 2021 Obtained on the day
This document is subject to copyright. No part may be reproduced without written permission, except for fair dealing for the purposes of personal investigation or research. The content is provided for informational purposes only.