Once settled, immigrants play important guard roles in mongoose packs | Science News

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Once settled, immigrants play important guard roles in mongoose packs

But it takes time for residents to fully accept new members

9:00am, December 11, 2017
dwarf mongoose

JUST YOU WAIT  It takes a while for dwarf mongoose immigrants to adjust to life in a new pack, but eventually, group members benefit from newcomers’ contributions.

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Immigrants, they get the job done — eventually. Among dwarf mongooses, it takes newcomers a bit to settle into a pack. But once these immigrants become established residents, everyone in the pack profits, researchers from the University of Bristol in England report online December 4 in Current Biology.  

Dwarf mongooses (Helogale parvula) live in groups of around 10, with a pecking order. The alphas — a top male and female — get breeding priority, while the others help with such group activities as babysitting and guard duty. But the road to the top of the social hierarchy is linear and sometimes crowded. So some individuals skip out on the group they were born into to find one with fewer members of their sex with which to compete —“effectively ‘skipping the queue,’” says ecologist

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