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Mungos remind and reward helpful friends



Group of pygmy mongooses, in which various cooperative actions are also exchanged with a time delay. Credit: Shannon Wild

Dwarf mongers recall earlier collaborative actions of their group members and later reward them, according to a recent work by researchers from the University of Bristol, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences .

Market trading was once considered to be the domain of human beings, but the exchange of goods and services is now widely recognized among other animals. The new research shows that mongooses have sufficient cognitive ability to quantify past collaborative activities and to achieve an adequate level of delayed reward.

Senior author, Professor Andy Radford of the Bristol School of Biological Sciences, said: "People often trade in goods They can trace the amount they owe with reminders from past barters, while nonhuman animals are well known To act cooperatively on each other immediately, the possibility of delayed rewards is more controversial.

Dr Julie Kern, also from Bristol, added: "There has been little suitable experimental testing on wild animals, especially non-wild animals. primates. By working with groups of dwarf mongooses accustomed to our close presence, we were able to collect detailed observations and experimentally perform manipulations under natural conditions. "

The study is the first to provide experimental evidence in a wild non-primate population for late contingent collaboration ̵

1; providing a later reward for a person for the scope of cooperation it has performed. It also provides compelling evidence for cross-commodity trading, where individuals reward one type of cooperative behavior with another cooperative action, in which case the grooming has been traded for sentinel behavior, meaning that an individual takes a higher position to look for dangers

Dwarf Mongoose as guardian (raised guardian) A cooperative act later cultivated by group members Credit: Shannon Wild

Dr. Kern said, "We started with detailed, natural observations collected over many months to show that people who do a lot of guard duty are well cared for and well positioned in the group's social network, but to prove a causal link "We Have"

Professor Radford added, "Over three hours of food-seeking groups, we simulated additional sentinel behavior by a subordinate group member using playbacks of his surveillance calls. We performed this duty in the sleep cavity on this Evening and overseen all nursing events, especially those received by the person who upregulated their sentinel contribution. "

The researchers found some notable results. On days when one person kept more watch, she received more evening care from the group members than at control days (when her foraging had been played during the previous foraging). In addition, the person who had upregulated their sentinel contribution received more care than a subordinate group control.

Dwarf Mongooses Reward Individuals Performing Cooperative Sentinel Behavior (as an Enhanced Guard) They are cared for when they return to the compound in the evening. Credit: Megan Shersby

Grooming has long been considered an important tradable commodity in social species and used as a reward in various contexts. The new work shows that this care premium does not have to follow immediately after the corresponding cooperative act; Mungos increased their care at the end of the day, when the mongooses ended their search for food and returned to their sleeping chambers.

Dwarf Mongooses are Africa's smallest carnivore and live in cooperative breeding groups of 5-30 individuals. The work was carried out in the context of the dwarf mangoose project, which since 2011 has been continuously investigating habitat-poached groups. The test animals are individually marked with blond hair dyes, trained on a scale to weigh themselves, and can be removed from a few feet while performing their natural behavior under ecologically sound conditions.


Further research:
Mobbing Mungos come with a little help from their friends

Further information:
Julie M. Kern et al., "Experimental Evidence for Delayed Contingent Cooperation between Wild Dwarf Mongooses" PNAS (2018). www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1801000115

Reference to the journal:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Provided by:
University of Bristol


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