Infanticide in Primates
THIS IS A PAGE BY MEHERET OURGESSA
Infanticide generally refers to the killing of an infant or a young offspring by an adult or mature individual of the same species and is observed in a variety of species ranging from humans to microscopic rotifers and especially in primates. Both males and females can be the perpetrators of infanticide in animals and both parents (filial infanticide) or non-parent individuals have been observed to display the behavior. Filial infanticide, which can be accompanied by cannibalism (filial cannibalism), is widespread in fishes and is also seen in terrestrial animals.
Male infanticide occurs most frequently in social species, less frequently in solitary species and least frequently in monogamous species. (1) Although previously considered pathological and maladaptive and attributed to environmental conditions such as overcrowding and captivity (2), there are currently several explanations for the evolution of infanticide in non-human primate communities such as resource competition, sexual competition and exploitation. Many primates such as the gorilla, chimpanzee, baboon and langur have been known to practice infanticide while others, such as the orangutan, bonobo and mouse lemur don’t (Reuters).
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Legend/credit: Electron micrograph of the Ebola Zaire virus. This was the first photo ever taken of the virus, on 10/13/1976. By Dr. F.A. Murphy, now at U.C. Davis, then at the CDC.
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