When Males Kill Young

Many social factors contributed to the evolution of male infanticide in mammal societies.

Male mammals of many species kill the offspring of other males to increase their own chances of successful reproduction. Evolutionary biologists long suspected that this behavior exerted a strong influence on how animal societies were shaped over time. But an analysis of more than 250 different mammalian societies suggests that mammals’ social structure evolved largely independently of infanticide, while finding further evidence that some social factors may have influenced the evolution of the violent behavior. The work was published today (November 13) in Science.

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