Egalitarianism in female African lions.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Because most cooperative societies are despotic, it has been difficult to test models of egalitarianism. Female African lions demonstrate a unique form of plural breeding in which companions consistently produce similar numbers of surviving offspring. Consistent with theoretical predictions from models of reproductive skew, female lions are unable to control each other's reproduction because of high costs of fighting and low access to each other's newborn cubs. A female also lacks incentives to reduce her companions' reproduction, because her own survival and reproduction depend on group territoriality and synchronous breeding. Consequently, female relationships are highly symmetrical, and female lions are "free agents" who only contribute to communal care when they have cubs of their own.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Packer, C; Pusey, AE; Eberly, LE

Published Date

  • July 2001

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 293 / 5530

Start / End Page

  • 690 - 693

PubMed ID

  • 11474110

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1095-9203

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0036-8075

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1126/science.1062320


  • eng