Why are mammals primed to protect and sacrifice for offspring? Preservation and survival of the young are so deeply rooted and ancestral in the most highest functioning species. Remember hunting-with-implement dolphins?
Coyotes have been on my mind (!!sighted one in my neighborhood 1-2 mos ago *veryCOOL* Don't worry...my children are too big for them to attack/hunt... Our cat... on the other hand would make a nice meal). Are humans like coyotes... or domesticated dogs...? Does civilization makes us soft... like dogs (sorry, dog-lovers)?
- "Coyotes (like other wild Canis species) have a complex and unusual mating strategy not often found in mammals; they are socially and perennially monogamous, and males assist in pup-rearing.... Coyotes maintain an evolved mating strategy that is uncommon among mammals (and absent in dogs in particular)." Quoted from the REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY OF THE COYOTE (CANIS LATRANS): INTEGRATION OF BEHAVIOR AND PHYSIOLOGY (click HERE) by Debra A. Carlson for her PhD degree in Wildlife Biology in Utah examined wild coyote reproductive behavior. An entire 'village' of coyotes support the rearing, feeding and growth of the pups born to the dominant male and dominant female of pack. "Among wild canines, it is thought that the strategic role of pseudopregnancy may facilitate the alloparental care given to pups by subordinate adult females residing with the parents (Asa 1997; Asa and Valdespino 1998; Kreeger et al. 1991; Mech 1970). Helper females bring food back to the den and defend the offspring of the dominant female; but more remarkably, in some species, they also have the capacity to suckle the infant young (coyote: Camenzind 1978; dwarf mongoose: Creel 1996)."
BTW... wild coyotes have integrated dog mitochondrial DNA... In forensic medicine (eg, CSI stuff), analyzing mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is employed to identify human tissue and remains.
"Sequence analysis of the mitochondrial DNA control region from 112 southeastern US coyotes (Canis latrans) revealed 12 individuals with a haplotype closely related to those in domestic dogs. Phylogenetic analyses grouped this new haplotype in the dog/grey wolf (Canis familiaris/Canis lupus) clade with 98% bootstrap support." These researchers in Idaho however conclude that "The introgression of domestic dog genes into the southeastern coyote population does not appear to have substantially affected the coyote's genetic, morphological, or behavioural integrity. (Waits LP. Mol Ecol. 2003 Feb;12(2):541-6.)" Really...?
Happy Easter :)
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