Monday , March 8 2021

Babysitters provide a boost to the offspring of elderly birds

Seychelles Sword

Seychelles Sword. Credit: Photo by Rami Joan, CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia

Seychelles’ young ultra-Orthodox are doing better if their elderly parents help raise them, according to a new study by the University of the East of England (UEA) and the University of Groningen.

The roots of the Seychelles, a cooperative breed of songbird swimming in small family groups, divide the care of the young between parents and helpers. The researchers found that this collaboration could compensate for a decline in the ability of elderly parents to provide adequate care. It may also promote greater social behavior in family groups with older parents.

The findings help explain why social species, like humans, are often better off if they live in groups and cooperate in raising offspring.

The study was conducted using data collected on individual Seychelles sappers researched on Cousin Island, a tiny island in the Seychelles, over the past 30 years. The study was led by researchers at the University of UEA and the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, in collaboration with the University of Sheffield and the Seychelles Nature.

The article, “Helping to Compensate for Age-Related Decreases in Parental Care and the Survival of Offspring in a Breeding Bird Collaboratively,” was published January 19, 2021 in the journal. Development letters.

Prof. David Richardson, from the UEA School of Biological Sciences, is the lead author of the article. He said, “In many species of animals, offspring from aging parents do not survive as well as offspring from younger parents.

“The collaborative nature of Seychelles sappers means caring for offspring is often shared between the dominant reproductive duo and a variable number of adult-assisted assistants who assist in various aspects of breeding, including providing food for offspring.

“The amount of care that dominant breeders provide is reduced when they are assisted and this lower parental investment can improve parental survival and future reproductive productivity.”

Furthermore, additional care for caregivers reduces offspring mortality. The chances of survival of young offspring gradually decrease with the age of the bird mother, but these decreases are moderate when helpers are present. This effect does not arise because individual assistants provide more care in response to a lower supply of older dominant females, but because older female breeders have recruited more assistants, thus receiving more overall care in their tumors.

Dr. Martin Hammers of the University of Groningen is the first author of the study.

In the Seychelles kiln, female bends are more likely to be helpful and provide more help than men, and the likelihood of female submissive increases sharply with the age of the dominant female. Therefore, older dominant females can be predicted to produce female offspring, although it remains to examine this final prediction.

The article, “Helping to Compensate for Age-Related Decreases in Parental Care and the Survival of Offspring in a Breeding Bird in Collaboration,” will be published January 19, 2021 in the journal Development letters.

Females live longer when they have help in raising offspring

Awarded by the University of the East of England

quotation: ‘Babysitters’ Provide a Boost to Offspring of Older Birds (2021, Jan. 18) Returned Jan. 18, 2021

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