Apr 12, 2020

Rank-dependent social inheritance determines social network structure in a wild mammal population

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Amiyaal IlanyE. Akcay


The structure of animal social networks influences survival and reproductive success, as well as pathogen and information transmission. However, the general mechanisms determining social structure remain unclear. Using data on 73,767 social interactions among wild spotted hyenas over 27 years, we show that a process of social inheritance determines how offspring relationships are formed and maintained. The relationships of offspring with other hyenas are similar to those of their mothers over up to six years, and the degree of similarity increases with maternal social rank. The strength of mother-offspring relationship affects social inheritance and is positively correlated with offspring longevity. These results confirm the hypothesis that social inheritance of relationships can structure animal social networks and be subject to adaptive tradeoffs.

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