The Evolution of Cooperative Breeding in Vertebrates

Date

2017

Authors

Komdeur, Jan
Richardson, David S.
Hammers, Martijn
Eikenaar, Cas
Brouwer, Lyanne
Kingma, Sjouke A.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Abstract

Cooperative breeding – in which some sexually mature individuals forgo independent breeding, join a group as subordinate and help to raise the offspring of others – occurs in at least 3% (mammals) and 9% (birds) of vertebrates. Because helping others is costly, this behaviour contradicts the concept of ‘selfish’ natural selection. The intriguing evolutionary paradox of such seemingly altruistic behaviour has, therefore, been the focus of much study aiming to unravelling the evolutionary drivers underlying cooperative breeding. The benefits of group living, costs of dispersal and constraints of limited available independent breeding positions may persuade individuals to delay independent breeding and remain as subordinates within a group. However, it is the range of subsequent benefits (indirect benefits – such as improving reproduction and survival of related individuals or direct benefits – such as gaining breeding experience, benefits of future cooperation with raised recruits or gaining a share in reproduction) that favour the evolution of helping.

Description

Keywords

Citation

Source

Type

Journal article

Book Title

Encyclopedia of Life Sciences

Entity type

Access Statement

License Rights

DOI

10.1002/9780470015902.a0021218.pub2

Restricted until

2099-12-31