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The spatial-and-ethological population structure, cooperation, and the evolution of sociality in rodents

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There are two types of complex social units — aggregations and family groups — in rodent populations, with an essential difference in their social organization. The impact of ecological factors on the evolution of sociality in rodents (the transition from solitary towards family-group lifestyle) is still unclear. The inter-specific comparative analysis based on quantification of social traits related to the spatial-and-ethological population structure and cooperation allows author to propose a new conceptual approach to the assessment of differences between the species under consideration in terms of the evolution of sociality. A new conceptual model of the evolution of sociality in rodents should incorporate ecological conditions and social factors, including cooperation, operating as a complex of selective forces promoting formation of family groups.

Affiliations: 1: A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution RAS, Leninsky Avenue 33, Moscow 119071, Russia

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