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Golden snub-nosed monkeys take care of each other children

Being a mother is difficult enough, but imagine that you are mothers of other children as well. It is the norm for golden snub-nosed monkeys, according to a new study in the journal Science Advances . Researchers found that over a five-year period, more than 87 percent of golden stupid monkey babies were cared for by women other than their mothers – a phenomenon called allonursing. While allonursing has been documented in a number of rodents and predators species, as well as some primates, it is not common. Monkey Mothering Regularly all-rounding has only been reported in about 40 mammals, and researchers did not expect to see this behavior when they first began to observe the behavior of groups of monkeys in central China's Shennongjia National Nature Reserve in 201 2. [19659002] Zuofu Xiang, a wildlife conservation professor at Central South University of Forestry and Technology in China and one of the new study authors, says it was not until they noticed a female, while sucking two infants, that the thought even occurred to them. "When we started tracking newborns, we were surprised to find that allonouring was common during the first three months of an infant's life," Xiang said. Xiang and his colleagues found that during five birth seasons, more than 87 percent of infants were drawn from women who were not their mothers. [19659008] Researchers in China had been studying these monkeys for several years when they noticed a mother feeding two children at the same time. It…

Being a mother is difficult enough, but imagine that you are mothers of other children as well. It is the norm for golden snub-nosed monkeys, according to a new study in the journal Science Advances . Researchers found that over a five-year period, more than 87 percent of golden stupid monkey babies were cared for by women other than their mothers – a phenomenon called allonursing.

While allonursing has been documented in a number of rodents and predators species, as well as some primates, it is not common.

Monkey Mothering

Regularly all-rounding has only been reported in about 40 mammals, and researchers did not expect to see this behavior when they first began to observe the behavior of groups of monkeys in central China’s Shennongjia National Nature Reserve in 201

2. [19659002] Zuofu Xiang, a wildlife conservation professor at Central South University of Forestry and Technology in China and one of the new study authors, says it was not until they noticed a female, while sucking two infants, that the thought even occurred to them.

“When we started tracking newborns, we were surprised to find that allonouring was common during the first three months of an infant’s life,” Xiang said.

Xiang and his colleagues found that during five birth seasons, more than 87 percent of infants were drawn from women who were not their mothers. [19659008] Researchers in China had been studying these monkeys for several years when they noticed a mother feeding two children at the same time. It was then that they realized that allonursing was a common practice among the species.

Proximity was an important factor when grandmother or aunts tended to provide extra nutrition. Mutuality also seemed to play a role, as most mothers had another woman’s baby if the woman had previously cared for her own.

Got Milk?

One reason why this finding was surprising is that milk is an expensive form of investment in one’s offspring. Why would it benefit a mother to make that investment in the children of others?

“Breastfeeding is one of the most energetically expensive things that a mammal can do without it being pregnancy itself – female mammals literally create a new substance from the beginning with the resources available in their own body, at great expense” , says Kirsty MacLeod, a behavioral and evolutionary ecologist at Lund University, Sweden, who was not involved in this study.

“Allonursing is usually found where females live in very closely related groups, where nursing your nephew or niece still benefits you, as they divide your genes or into species that feed several young at a time, so giving some milk to an extra baby is not so expensive, says MacLeod.

Primates do not often fall into any category, although there are many primates living in social groups, most of the species do not harvest each other, so this report of allonursing in golden snub-nosed monkeys is Significant and Interesting. “

It Takes a Village

So why is golden snub-nosed monkey mamas so generous with its milk?

Related women cohabiting and socializing within larger groups, and they are all born within a short period of time each year. These factors contribute to allonouring, but they do not make these monkeys unique.

What can distinguish them is their habitat. Golden stubby monkeys live in high-altitude temperate forests with long, cold winters (night temperatures usually drop during freezing) and strong seasonal changes in the supply of food. Allonursing can improve the survival of infants prior to these environmental challenges.

Allonursing can give infants a survival advantage during the winter, the researchers positively.

In the study, Xiang and his colleagues played up six instances of infants who did not receive care from another woman. Four of them died during the winter (before weaning), while only six of the 40 infants remained dead (and this includes two cases of male child murder that occurred when a new man took over a group).

Allonursing could stack the odds in an infant’s advantage by providing extra nutrients to accelerate growth and development. It can also provide a more varied set of immune compounds to infants, improving their resistance to various diseases and parasites.

The behavior can also benefit mothers. By taking part of the energetic burden of mothers and spreading it around related females, mothers can reinvest energy and resources into future offspring.

Xiang says that a single set of conditions is unlikely to explain why allonursing has evolved into different species.

“While allonursing has benefits for infants and mothers, and variables such as availability of female relatives and environmental hardness may make it more likely in some species, there are primates with similar constellation of socio-ecological factors that do not show allonouring,” he says. .

It seems that for some mammals, a village can raise the young. Sharing nursing services with your relatives is just meaningful for the golden guy.

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