Biology Faculty Articles

Title

A Molecular Genetic Analysis of Kinship and Cooperation in African Lions

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-13-1991

Publication Title

Nature

ISSN

0028-0836

Volume

351

Issue/No.

6327

First Page

562

Last Page

565

Abstract

African lions live in complex social groups and show extensive cooperative behaviour. Here we describe a new application of DNA fingerprinting that unequivocally demonstrates the kinship structure of lion 'prides': female companions are always closely related, male companions are either closely related or unrelated, and mating partners are usually unrelated. The variability in relatedness among male coalition partners provides an important opportunity to test for the effects of kinship on cooperative behaviour. Paternity analysis reveals that male reproductive success becomes increasingly skewed as coalition size increases, and the tendency to form coalitions with non-relatives drops sharply with increasing coalition size. Thus males only act as non-reproductive 'helpers' in coalitions composed of close relatives.

Comments

©1991 Nature Publishing Group

ORCID ID

0000-0001-7353-8301

ResearcherID

N-1726-2015

This document is currently not available here.

Find in your library

Share

COinS