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Science behind the Soap Opera

The cute and the shocking at Meerkat Manor

By
10:23am, February 26, 2007

Tim Clutton-Brock has suddenly said, for reasons not at all clear to me, "Hard-boiled egg." Perhaps it's best to ignore this. So, I ask him again in our phone conversation what he would pick as the highlights of his past 13 years of directing a field study of meerkats in the Kalahari Desert. Meerkats, a type of mongoose, cluster in family groups and share the job of raising the top female's pups. Clutton-Brock and his colleagues have published reports on meerkat behaviors ranging from altruism to infanticide. But it turns out that the first highlight that he wishes to discuss actually is a hard-cooked egg.

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