Kin Selection May Influence Fostering Behaviour In Antarctic Fur Seals, Alphagalileo & Proc. Biol. Sc.
Fostering, the giving of parental care in addition to or in place of that provided by the mother, confers many benefits to an offspring but can impact negatively on the caregiver's fitness. Such behaviour is particularly unexpected in seals where the investment in milk is extraordinarily high and has led to the suggestion that this behaviour may have evolved through kin selection. We used genetic and behavioural data (...) found that foster mothers and pups were much more closely related to each other than expected, suggesting that kin selection could have a role in the maintenance of fostering behaviour in this species.