Sunday, April 4, 2010
Cooperative and Antagonistic Behaviors in Lions
Coyne states on page 119 that "Selection has to explain behaviors, both cooperative and antagonistic". However, these behaviors don't always necessarily appear separately in nature. The lion is a prime example of this. Although living in a highly organized and cooperative social group based on mutual aid in hunting and defense, individualistic tendencies also sometimes take hold in the form of mate competition. In fact, male lions have sometimes been known to kill a lioness' cubs by another mate before reproducing with the lioness. How can such behavior, that may seem very counterproductive in a highly organized social group, exist in the same species that hunts in a cooperative unit? What other examples of organisms can you think of that have a similar structure? Feel free to mention behaviors we have discussed in the ecology unit (ie kin selection, altruism etc).