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Shifts in male reproductive tactics over the life course in a polygynandrous mammal

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Städele,  Veronika
Molecular Genetics Laboratory, Department of Primatology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Vigilant,  Linda
Molecular Genetics Laboratory, Department of Primatology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Silk, J. B., Städele, V., Roberts, E. K., Vigilant, L., & Strum, S. C. (2020). Shifts in male reproductive tactics over the life course in a polygynandrous mammal. Current Biology, 30(9): e3, pp. 1716-1720. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2020.02.013.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-6CD6-0
Abstract
Summary In polygynous and polygynandrous species, there is often intense male-male competition over access to females, high male reproductive skew, and more male investment in mating effort than parenting effort [1]. However, the benefits derived from mating effort and parenting effort may change over the course of males’ lives. In many mammalian species, there is a ∩-shaped relationship between age, condition, and resource holding power as middle-aged males that are in prime physical condition outcompete older males [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] and sire more infants [9, 10, 11, 12]. Thus, males might derive more benefits from parenting effort than mating effort as they age and their competitive abilities decline [13]. Alternatively, older males may invest more effort in making themselves attractive to females as mates [14]. One way that older males might do so is by developing relationships with females and providing care for their offspring [14, 15]. Savannah baboons provide an excellent opportunity to test these hypotheses. They form stable multi-male, multi-female groups, and males compete for high ranking positions. In yellow and chacma baboons (Papio cynocephalus and P. ursinus), there is a ∩-shaped relationship between male age and dominance rank [12], and high rank enhances paternity success [12, 16]. Lactating female baboons form close ties (“primary associations” hereafter) with particular males [15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20], who support them and their infants in conflicts [15, 19] and buffer their infants from rough handling [20]. Females’ primary associates are often, but not always, the sires of their current infants [16, 20, 21, 22].