, 10 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
New paper out today which explores four different functional hypotheses about why people help look after someone else's child in the Agta.
We explore the (non-competing) roles of kin selection, reciprocity, learning-to-mother and costly signalling in direct childcare, measured with 1.5 meter proximity
Downside of proximity is that you lose detail about the type of interaction, but using proximity measures meant we had a much larger sample size and (perhaps more importantly) time sample compared to focal follows.
We find little support for learning-to-mother (but longitudinal work would be more suitable to test this) and costly-signalling (males spend more time in food production which has gone unmeasured here) but similar effect sizes for reciprocity and kin selection
Most interestingly (for me!) was that reciprocity explained close proximity interactions with young children in close, distant and non-kin - highlighting that we can't approach kin selection and reciprocity as competing hypotheses: both can explain behaviour
However, the effect of kin selection was (as expected) strongest in close kin, who were more responsive to 'needy' households - perhaps increasing indirect fitness benefits. Reciprocity was strongest in non-kin who seemed to avoid needy households = unlikely to help in return
After writing, getting this paper through peer-review and also having children myself - I have lots of thoughts about what does and doesn't 'count' as children - thoughts @matthewgthomas and I have distilled into this blog:
for #PhD and #ECR - this paper has taken 3-4 years to emerge - and I almost gave up on it twice after rejects at various stages of the process. it is slow and bleak but stuff does finally get to be read (hopefully) widely!
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