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(Phys Org2)   New study shows that sleeping around can be costly for sparrows. It pays not to be a cheap cluck   (phys.org) divider line 10
    More: Interesting, University of Aberdeen, genetic markers, monogamy, breeding seasons, sexual promiscuity, reproductive success, blood samples  
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541 clicks; posted to Geek » on 22 May 2012 at 10:52 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-05-22 09:24:18 PM
Sparrows cluck?

Wait, was that an African or European sparrow?

Kind of a stretch, but I'll +1 it anyway.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-05-22 10:05:36 PM
They found that extra-pair offspring had 40 percent fewer offspring of their own, and 30 percent fewer grandoffspring, compared to within-pair offspring.

I wonder if daddy sparrow knows they aren't his and doesn't treat the red-feathered step-chicks like he would his own.

The figures could also indicate all chicks, bastards and legitimate, suffer when mommy bird cheats. I haven't read the full paper, which may clarify.
 
2012-05-22 11:30:34 PM
Sparrow the rod, and spoil the chick.
 
2012-05-22 11:44:45 PM
Why promiscuity exists in monogamous species is "one of the biggest remaining enigmas in evolutionary ecology,"

I would have thought that promiscuous species labeled as monogamous would have been the bigger mystery.
 
2012-05-23 12:06:43 AM
I though most preferred swallows over sparrows.
 
2012-05-23 12:16:54 AM

ZAZ: I wonder if daddy sparrow knows they aren't his and doesn't treat the red-feathered step-chicks like he would his own.


I'd be willing to bet contributing half the genes to the critter you are raising confers a parenting advantage in and of itself. Genetics influences how we think, act, and respond; personal knowledge of the genes involved might make it easier to predict/communicate/influence/teach/etc.
 
2012-05-23 06:38:09 AM

eudemonist: ZAZ: I wonder if daddy sparrow knows they aren't his and doesn't treat the red-feathered step-chicks like he would his own.

I'd be willing to bet contributing half the genes to the critter you are raising confers a parenting advantage in and of itself. Genetics influences how we think, act, and respond; personal knowledge of the genes involved might make it easier to predict/communicate/influence/teach/etc.


That is an excellent point. Knowing "thyself" is an advantage on a genetic level when raising young.

Here is another point, far less interesting. My notes have never turned into anything sellable, so I guess I'll share it here.

I have several bird houses outside my kitchen window. I designed them for different species, but the sparrows have reigned for over a decade. Consequently, we have observed mating pairs, up close while doing dishes, for that time. And this is what I have learned: there is a gradation of sexual behavior in that little species. I nearly blush when I think about it. And it makes me think that it is a gross understatement that there is more in this world than in our books.

Most sparrow couples mate in a very perfunctory manner: She flutters her wings, and he hops on and off a few times. But other couples have distinct behaviors during the act--this season there is a couple where the male pecks (almost violently) at the female head while he stays mounted quite firmly--very little jumping off. Last year there was a female who would flutter her wings for a few seconds whenever she saw her mate--even when they were working on feeding their brood.

But about five years ago there was this couple that made me nearly turn away when they were going at it. She would crank her beak skyward and he would gently rub his beak against hers while he lowered his wings to maintain excellent balance on top of her. Instead of the typical nesting/feeding activity immediately after the act, this particular couple would perch near each other, almost as if just enjoying each other's presence, or almost as though they were reflecting on how good life was. It was the gentlest bird love I've ever seen. At times we wanted to abandon the house and yard to give these two some more privacy. And they were robust breeders--they raised five broods at this one house from March to September. Always with the same passionate, reflective encounters.

I know I'm anthropomorphizing. I know it lacks the cold, detached scientific observation, or perhaps it contains too much of my personal bias, and such observation can be dismissed a million times over 160 years after Emerson. But let me tell you: there is a overlording gradation in this universe; and each individual creature, I'm sure, decides a relationship to it.
 
2012-05-23 08:57:49 AM
For monogamous sparrows, it doesn't pay to stray (but they do it anyway)

Uh, no. It obviously pays, or they wouldn't do it. These scientists are saying millions of years of evolution are wrong? It's possible, if the environment has changed enough to make something so basic like mating strategies obsolete, but I really, really doubt it.

They quote numbers saying that the extra-pair offspring don't do as well. So? Any that survive add to their total pool of offspring, so that's a success. And that's why they do it.

Some "evolutionary enigma"
 
2012-05-23 10:41:42 AM
sleeping around can be costly for sparrows

That's because Will Turner gets mad.

images.sodahead.com

/or something, can't remember the plot to that movie
 
2012-05-23 10:46:17 AM
Promiscuous bird,
You already know
That I'm all yours
What you waiting for?
 
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