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Life history consequences of mammal sibling rivalry.


ABSTRACT: Mammal life history traits relating to growth and reproduction are extremely diverse. Sibling rivalry may contribute to selection pressures influencing this diversity, because individuals that are relatively large at birth typically have an advantage in competition for milk. However, selection for increased growth rate is likely to be constrained by kin selection and physiological costs. Here, we present and test a model examining the ESS (evolutionarily stable strategy) balance between these constraints and advantages associated with increased prenatal growth in mammal sibling rivalry. Predictions of the model are supported by results of comparative analyses for the Carnivora and Insectivora, which demonstrate an increase in prenatal growth rate with increasing intensity of postnatal scramble competition, and a decrease in postnatal growth rate relative to size at birth. Because increased prenatal growth rates are predicted to select for reduced gestation length under certain conditions, our study also indicates that sibling rivalry may contribute to selection pressures influencing variation in altriciality and precociality among mammals.

SUBMITTER: Stockley P 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC130563 | BioStudies | 2002-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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