Friday, 17 August 2018

Social isolation: Animals that break away from the pack can influence evolution



Date:  July 17, 2018
Source:  Cell Press

For some animals -- such as beetles, ants, toads, and primates -- short-term social isolation can be just as vital as social interaction to development and long-term evolution. In a review published July 17 in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution, two evolutionary biologists describe approaches for testing how an animal's isolation might impact natural selection and evolution. This framework can help design more effective breeding, reintroduction, and conservation strategies.

Research on evolution typically focuses on the importance of social interactions, including parent-offspring bonding, competition for resources, and courtship and mating rituals. But Nathan Bailey at the University of St Andrews in Scotland and his colleague Allen Moore at the University of Georgia realized that isolation must then be an extreme condition worthy of equal attention.


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