Animals can re-establish their use of smell to detect siblings, even following an interruption such as prolonged hibernation, research at the University of Chicago on ground squirrels shows.
© UnknownThe research on how animals recognize kin is vital to helping plan conservation programs for endangered species, Mateo says.
Smell is an important animal survival tool. Female ground squirrel sisters, for instance, bond in groups for protection and use smell to recognize each other. Animals also need to recognize siblings to avoid inbreeding, which would have a negative effect on their genetic fitness, said Jill Mateo, Assistant Professor in Comparative Human Development at the University.
The research on how animals recognize kin is vital to helping plan conservation programs for endangered species, Mateo said in the presentation, "Sex and Smells: Kin Recognition, the Armpit Effect and Mate Choice," Friday, Feb. 13 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
"Understanding kin recognition memory systems, or templates, is important to studying habitat selection, food choice, social bonds and mate preferences. It also is important to understand the degree of plasticity in these templates," she explained.