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Nature. 2008 Jul 10;454(7201):E1; discussion E2. doi: 10.1038/nature07122.

Do female hyaenas choose mates based on tenure?

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Zoological Society of San Diego, Conservation and Research for Endangered Species, P.O. Box 120551, San Diego, California 92112-0551, USA.


In their investigation into whether female mate-choice drives male dispersal, Höner et al. argue that female spotted hyaenas (Crocuta crocuta) prefer mates whose tenure in the social group is less than the females' age, to avoid paternal incest, and suggest that male dispersal reflects this preference. However, we are not persuaded that females choose mates on the basis of tenure because Höner et al. overlook the alternative hypothesis that dispersal status itself is important in female mate-choice, such that females prefer immigrants over natal males. Like mate-choice based on tenure, choice based on dispersal status reduces the risk of incest.

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