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Causes of divorce in long-term monogamous bird species

Douma, M. C. (2013) Causes of divorce in long-term monogamous bird species. Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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Abstract

The existence of social monogamy in birds could be due to the need for male parental care, the temporal distribution of the females, spatial distribution of resources or female-female aggression. Within social monogamy, an extraordinary variation has been found: long-term monogamy. The sole fact that this kind of monogamy exists means can be beneficial for individuals. However, divorces between individuals have been observed. This literature study will try to determine the causes and consequences of divorce in long-term monogamous birds. Four main hypotheses have been posed in an attempt to find a cause for divorce: the incompatibility hypothesis, the better option hypothesis, the accidental loss hypothesis and the forced divorce hypothesis. Some studies claim to have found evidence for the incompatibility hypothesis as well as the better option hypothesis to be the cause of divorce, but one has to question whether these two hypotheses truly differ from one another. Even with these indications, other studies, although on different species, contradict these results. When regarding the accidental loss hypothesis, again contradictory results are found. Research concerning the forced divorce hypothesis mostly has found evidence for this hypothesis. One can question whether the accidental loss hypothesis and the forced divorce hypothesis are proximate explanations, or the mechanism through which an ultimate process takes place. Even though there are several factors complicating a conclusion on the cause of divorce in long-term monogamous birds, I suggest that there is only one cause for divorce: when there is a possibility to improve reproductive success, divorce will take place. I stress that it is not important if this is due to the incompatibility hypothesis, the better option hypothesis, the accidental loss hypothesis or the forced divorce hypothesis, since in the end divorce always results in a (relatively) improved reproductive success.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:53
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:53
URI: http://fse.studenttheses.ub.rug.nl/id/eprint/11045

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