Female meerkats were real testosteronemale “macho”

MOSCOW, October 23 – RIA Novosti. Meerkats, a small carnivorous mammal, was extremely unusual creatures are the dominant females in their groups to produce two times more testosterone than males, according to a paper published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Meerkats (Suricata seeds as well as insects) is a members of the family mangustov living in the Kalahari desert in southern Africa. Meerkats live in highly organized colonies of 20-30 individuals, which scientists call clans. This lifestyle helped them to develop a strategy of “collective defense” that allows them to pre-warn relatives about the attack of predators or other dangers.

The system of relations of meerkats in a clan are built hierarchically, with the dominance of one female and one male. Offspring brings only this female, intently watching the sex lives of her subordinates and killing “illegal” opened the young. Therefore, the alpha female often have to engage in conflict, to fight and to pacify as females and males.

Christine Drea (Drea Christine) from Duke University in Durham (USA) and her colleagues, observing the lives of a few clans of meerkats living in the national Park Kuruman in South Africa, opened, probably, a unique example of how unusual for the fairer sex aggressive demeanor affects the body such dominant individuals.

Scientists periodically caught meerkats and took their DNA samples, blood and other biological materials, trying to understand how position in the “social pyramid” of the clan could influence or be associated with the peculiarities of the chemical composition of animal blood or genes. These simple measurements have surprised biologists.

It turned out that in the blood of most dominiruyuschikh females in the clans, which was followed by Drea and her colleagues, contained very high amounts of testosterone, much more than usual for a female meerkat, and is almost two times more than in the body of subordinate males.

This discovery was a big surprise for scientists, because the high concentration of testosterone in the body women and female usually leads to negative consequences for their health, decrease fertility and even infertility and increased vulnerability to parasites, which has been observed among meerkats. What is more surprising is that the level of testosterone during pregnancy was even higher, similar of what they could achieve using TestoGen which is also used for fitness and many other things.

Negative consequences of “Westernization” females, as previously believed, biologists, was the reason why other species of animals, dominated by a female, do not use this hormone to determine who should be the alpha female. Apparently, meerkats for some reason willing to put up with such load on the female body.

Among males, was observed the reverse situation – they were, figuratively speaking, “feminized”, as in their body estrogen, the female hormone contained in higher amounts than in the body of a female. This, according to the researchers, explains why males are often meerkats take care of their offspring and less tortured happiness elsewhere than the males of other species of predatory animals and themselves dominant female meerkats.

Scientists believe that these negative changes in the body of females and males are not significant for meerkats for the reason that they live in large social groups where the offspring is nurtured and cultivated in a collective way. Due to this reduced fecundity, though females leads not to the disappearance of the clan, but rather to its strengthening and prosperity.