Monday, February 25, 2013

Infantice vs. Sisterhood in Lions & Elephants

Here is a brilliant film clip presenting infanticide and female resistance to the same.

Infanticide among lions is a fine if grizzly example of a basic theme in evolutionary psychology.  It opens up the heart of sexual selection among a wide range of creatures including human beings.  I am lecturing about it this week in my Human Nature & Human Values course.

What I find most interesting about this clip is that it not only highlights the selection for infanticide by lion males, but shows that the outcome is not predetermined.  If I get the drift, whether the incoming male kills the cubs depends on how many females have cubs.  If enough of them do, they may band together to defend their offspring.  If enough are without cubs, their interests will coincide with the murderous instincts of the male.  Meanwhile, elephant females seem better able to defend their offspring.  This stuff is fascinating! 

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