Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How, in the animal world, a daughter avoids mating with her father: Paternal 'voice' recognition

Date:
November 30, 2012
Source:
BioMed Central Limited
Summary:
Paternal recognition – being able to identify males from your father’s line – is important for the avoidance of inbreeding, and one way that mammals can do this is through recognizing the calls of paternal kin. This was thought to occur only in large-brained animals with complex social groups, but a new study provides evidence in a tiny, solitary primate that challenges this theory.

Credit: Kessler Sharon, BMC photo

Paternal recognition -- being able to identify males from your father's line -- is important for the avoidance of inbreeding, and one way that mammals can do this is through recognizing the calls of paternal kin. This was thought to occur only in large-brained animals with complex social groups, but a new study published November 30 in the open access journal BMC Ecology provides evidence in a tiny, solitary primate that challenges this theory.

The study, led by Sharon E Kessler, finds that the grey mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus) -- a small-brained, solitary foraging mammal endemic to Madagascar -- is able to recognize paternal relatives via vocalizations, thus providing evidence that this is not dependent upon having a large brain and a high social complexity, as previously suggested.

Because grey mouse lemurs are nocturnal solitary-foragers living in dense forests, vocal communication is important for regulating social interactions across distances where visibility is poor and communication via smell is limited. Though the mouse lemur shares sleeping sites with other mouse lemurs, it forages alone for fruit and insects. It is a particularly interesting species with which to study vocal paternal recognition because, in the wild, females remain in the same area of birth and cooperatively raise young with other female kin. Males do not co-nest with their mates or young and provide no paternal care, which limits opportunities for familiarity-based social interactions. Thus, vocalizations are likely to be important -- particularly for avoiding inbreeding.

The research team from Arizona State University and the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover in Germany found that two of the most frequent calls of the mouse lemur were the mate advertisement call and the alarm call. Using multi-parametric analyses of the call's acoustic parameters, they could see that both call types contained individual signatures. Through this, they discovered that only male grey mouse lemur advertisement calls, but not alarm calls, contained acoustic paternal signatures. Furthermore, females paid more attention to advertisement calls from unrelated males than from their fathers.

The findings from the study suggest that the discrimination between mate advertisement calls and alarm calls may be an important mechanism for inbreeding avoidance. This is likely to be highly important in the grey mouse lemur species because males are likely to remain in an area for several years and they can expand their ranges to more than twice that of the female's range, making it likely that adult males' ranges will overlap with those of their daughters from previous mating seasons.

The team also proposed that the mouse lemur's ultrasonic calls above the hearing range of owls could be an anti-predator strategy, especially since the species suffers from high predation.

Lead author Kessler commented, "Given that more complex forms of sociality with cohesive foraging groups are thought to have evolved from an ancestral solitary forager much like the mouse lemur, this suggests that the mechanisms for kin recognition like those seen here may be the foundation from which more complex forms of kin-based sociality evolved."

She continued, "Future analyses will determine which acoustic parameters make this kin recognition possible by artificially manipulating acoustic parameters in the calls and then using the modified calls in playback experiments."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central Limited. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sharon E Kessler, Marina Scheumann, Leanne T Nash and Elke Zimmermann Search Advanced search Other content in.. Categories Science Keywords Life Sciences Regions Americas Europe. Paternal kin recognition in the high frequency / ultrasonic range in a solitary foraging mammal. BMC Ecology, 2012 (in press) [link]

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central Limited. "How, in the animal world, a daughter avoids mating with her father: Paternal 'voice' recognition." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121129232611.htm>.
BioMed Central Limited. (2012, November 30). How, in the animal world, a daughter avoids mating with her father: Paternal 'voice' recognition. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121129232611.htm
BioMed Central Limited. "How, in the animal world, a daughter avoids mating with her father: Paternal 'voice' recognition." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121129232611.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

AFP (July 19, 2014) As if it weren't enough that the Queen is the Sovereign of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms, she is also the owner of all Britain's unmarked swans. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins