Mongoose pups conceal their identity to stay alive | Curious Meerkat
Infant mongooses rely on adults to escort them as they learn to forage. A new study finds that adult mongooses show no preference for their own offspring when choosing a pup to escort, and the authors suggest they may not be able to tell their own kin apart.
Can mongoose pups conceal their identity?
Mongooses live in cooperative groups where the adults work together to help raise the pups. You'd assume that if a mongoose knows which pups are his or her own, that they'd tend to try and help them out more if possible, but a new study shows quite the opposite - adult mongooses dole out their assistance at random with respect to relatedness, suggesting that they may not be able to tell the difference after all. This might be crucial to protect mongoose pups from aggression from unrelated adults.