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A double pedigree reveals genetic but not cultural inheritance of cooperative personalities in wild banded mongooses
Ecology Letters, Volume: 24, Issue: 9, Pages: 1966 - 1975
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Personality traits, such as the propensity to cooperate, are often inherited from parents to offspring, but the pathway of inheritance is unclear. Traits could be inherited via genetic or parental effects, or culturally via social learning from role models. However, these pathways are difficult to d...
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Personality traits, such as the propensity to cooperate, are often inherited from parents to offspring, but the pathway of inheritance is unclear. Traits could be inherited via genetic or parental effects, or culturally via social learning from role models. However, these pathways are difficult to disentangle in natural systems as parents are usually the source of all of these effects. Here we exploit natural ‘cross fostering’ in wild banded mongooses to investigate the inheritance of cooperative behaviour. Our analysis of 800 adult helpers over 21 years showed low but significant genetic heritability of cooperative personalities in males but not females. Cross fostering revealed little evidence of cultural heritability: offspring reared by particularly cooperative helpers did not become more cooperative themselves. Our results demonstrate that cooperative personalities are not always highly heritable in wild, and that the basis of behavioral traits can vary within a species (here, by sex).
cooperation; cultural inheritance; helping syndromes; heritability; missing inheritance; personality
College of Science
This work was supported by Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Standard Grants (NE/J010278/1, NE/S000046/1 and NE/N011171/1) and European Research Council Starting Grant (SOCODEV, grant number 309249) awarded to M.A.C., a Leverhulme International Fellowship (IAF-2018-006) awarded to H.J.N., and a Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers awarded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to H.J.N.