Mammal: Some Wild Banded Mongooses Have Selfish Personality Traits

First Posted: Jul 21, 2015 11:10 PM EDT

New findings published in the journal Animal Behavior show that for wild banded mongooses in Uganda, they're either cooperative or quite selfish in life. 

The research is part of a long-term study on banded mongooses on the Mweya Peninsular, Uganda, led by researchers at the University of Exeter who examined the selfish behaviors of mongoose mate-guarding, in which dominant males guard particular females, as well as the cooperative behavior that involves keeping the young safe.

These creatures are incredibly social and breed cooperatively, meaning that most of them will take part in caring for offspring even if they did not breed the young themselves. However, competition in the animal groups remains, particularly when males compete for access to receptive females during oestrus--otherwise known as the recurring period of sexual fertility in female mammals.

Findings revealed that cooperative mongooses that helped with offspring were likely to keep up their efforts. However, this was not quite the case for the more selfish carnivorous mammals. If they put in little effort to start out with when it came to watching over young, chances are, they were set in their ways to stay the same throughout life. Furthermore, similar consistent behavior was seen in mongooses that selfishly guarded mates their entire life, according to researchers.

"We all know people who are always cooperative and others who are always selfish," Dr Jennifer Sanderson, from the University of Exeter, said in a news release. "Our study has found that the same is true in banded mongooses, some mongooses are more often observed cooperating while others are more often observed investing in selfish behaviours."

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