Meerkats are Actually Baby-Killing Cannibals.

If you think Meercats are cute and cuddly mammals, think again - they are baby-killing cannibals.

In an eight-year study published in the journal Biology Letters by Dr Andrew Young and Prof Tim Clutton-Brock, the scientists report a gripping account of "infanticidal power struggle" in meerkat society on the edge of the Kalahari.

Resources are so scarce that the matriarch tries to monopolise sex and reproduction in the group. When she becomes pregnant she evicts subordinate females and kills their young to maintain control. However, when her pups are born, the subordinates will return and even help the dominant female with the babysitting.

But the Cambridge team found that in cases when subordinate females manage to become pregnant, despite the best effort of the dominants, they too resort to infanticide - killing both the pups of their subordinate sisters and the matriarchs - to boost the chances that their own litter will have enough food.


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