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Fatal Sibling Aggression, Precocial Development, and Androgens in Neonatal Spotted Hyenas

Laurence G. Frank, Stephen E. Glickman and Paul Licht
Science
New Series, Vol. 252, No. 5006 (May 3, 1991), pp. 702-704
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2875435
Page Count: 3
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Abstract

Fatal neonatal sibling aggression is common in predatory birds but has not been previously reported in wild mammals. Spotted hyena females are strongly masculinized, both anatomically and behaviorally, apparently by high levels of androgens during ontogeny. Neonates display elevated androgen levels, precocial motor development, and fully erupted front teeth. Litters are usually twins, and siblings fight violently at birth, apparently leading to the death of one sibling in same-sex litters, whereas in mixed-sex litters both siblings usually survive.

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