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The Evolution of Parental Care$
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Nick J. Royle, Per T. Smiseth, and Mathias Kölliker

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199692576

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199692576.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 04 August 2021

The evolution of parental care: summary, conclusions, and implications

The evolution of parental care: summary, conclusions, and implications

(p.326) (p.327) Chapter 18 The evolution of parental care: summary, conclusions, and implications
The Evolution of Parental Care

Nick J. Royle

Per T. Smiseth

Mathias Kölliker

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a summary and synthesis of the previous seventeen chapters in the book. In particular, it emphasizes the importance of associations between parents and offspring rather than relatedness per se in explaining the evolutionary origins and maintenance of parental care and the evolution of social complexity, such as cooperative breeding and eusociality. It argues that it is the dynamic, co-evolutionary nature of interactions among family members, in combination with variation in the life-history and ecology of species, that are the key determinants of the evolution of parental care. Co-evolutionary feedback between life-history and parental care traits, mediated by genetic conflicts and (social) environmental variation, generates and maintains diversity in these traits, making parental care a key engine of biodiversity. The chapter summarizes the evolutionary implications of parental care for other processes, such as social evolution, sexual selection, and the evolution of personality, before providing likely future directions in the development of the study of parental care as integrated, multidisciplinary ‘social systems biology’.

Keywords:   parental care, eusociality, sexual selection, genetic conflicts, relatedness, social complexity, parental care traits, social evolution, biodiversity

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