Parents make sacrifices to allow their children to have better lives than they did, but this isn't the case for Kalahari meerkat mothers, according to a new University of Michigan study.
When these mothers feel stressed, it can alter the growth and behavior in their daughters in such a way that benefits the mothers at their child's expense, said U-M researcher Ben Dantzer.
Daughters from stressed meerkat mothers--but not sons--grow more slowly early in life, thus reducing their future chances of reproducing on their own. Daughters from stressed mothers instead redirect their energy to helping to rear the future offspring of their mother, which should directly benefit their mothers.
"Because early life growth or body mass in daughters is a major determinant of their future reproductive potential, our results highlight that early life stress should reduce the future reproductive success of daughters," said Dantzer, assistant professor of psychology and ecology and evolutionary biology, and the study's lead author.
Read the full article at Nature World News.