我要跟你生猴子

Bonobo Mothers

一些父母会插手子女的私事,但倭黑猩猩的妈妈却管到了极致。她们会亲自为成年的儿子挑选配偶,甚至会阻止其他雄性靠近未来的儿媳。这种行为看上去可能专横,却提高了将来儿孙满堂的几率。这项研究结果发表在当代生物学期刊上。

研究人员对刚果的野生倭黑猩猩进行了观察,他们发现,一些雌性跟雄性的行为有得一拼,她们会争夺具有繁殖能力的雌性倭黑猩猩,并驱赶其他求偶的雄性。这一发现让灵长类动物学家马丁感到十分惊讶。

我很好奇,这关女人什么事?对大多数哺乳动物而言,抢女人是男人之间的事情。为了搞懂这部狗血剧,马普进化生物研究所的马丁获得了倭黑猩猩的基因样本。

亲子鉴定后,一切真相大白,我们发现这些雌性倭黑猩猩是一些雄性倭黑猩猩的母亲,倭黑猩猩又是雌性占主导地位的动物群体。母亲有点像儿子们的社交护照,帮儿子在社交舞台上占据核心地位,给儿子带来更多和异性接触的机会。

母亲将儿子介绍给了最中意的媳妇之后,还会确保这对小鸳鸯不受第三者干扰。所以我们发现,母亲在世的家族,雄性倭黑猩猩繁衍后代的几率会高三倍。

相比之下,倭黑猩猩的近亲,黑猩猩的妈妈们就不会一直陪伴儿子,对于雄性黑猩猩而言,如果母亲一直在身边,繁衍后代的可能性更小。貌似在生猴子这件事情上,黑猩猩更注重隐私。

原文

Some parents get overly involved in their kids’ personal lives, but bonobo mothers take this tendency to the extreme. They fix up their adult sons with a female of their choosing, and they even keep other males from getting near their future daughter-in-law. The behavior may seem overbearing, but it boosts the odds they’ll be surrounded by grandkids. That’s according to a study in the journal Current Biology.

Researchers studying wild bonobos in the Congo noticed that some females behaved a bit like males - fighting over fertile females and fending off some of the males who come a-courtin’. That observation struck primatologist Martin Surbeck as odd.

“So I just wondered, hey what is it actually of their business, no? Most of the mammals it’s just a male business, this competition over the access to females.”

To get to the bottom of this unusual activity, Surbeck, who is currently at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, got DNA samples from the players in this melodrama.

“And so it became more apparent when we did the paternity analysis and it turned out these females were mothers of some males. And in this female-dominated society of bonobos the mother acts kind of like a social passport, allowing their sons to be more central in the group and therefore having more opportunities to interact with other females.”

And after the moms introduce their sons to the most desirable ladies, they make sure the couple won’t be interrupted. As a result:

“We found that males have about three times higher likelihood to sire offspring while their mom was still alive in the community.”

In contrast, mothers of the closely related chimpanzees don’t chaperone their sons. In fact, male chimps are less likely to sire offspring when their moms are around. Seems that chimps prefer privacy for their monkey business.

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