Monday, February 11, 2019

Dating before marriage! Dr. Gerald Carter on how blood-sharing cooperative behavior evolves among vampire bats.

Cooperation lies at the heart of social behavior. In turn, cooperation depends on trust. Trust that a good dead will be reciprocated with a good dead. But how does such a trust develop among a group of strangers? How can unknown people come together to develop a team.

To investigate the evolution of cooperation, the team of Dr. Gerald Carter at the Ohio State University studies vampire bats. Vampire bats, as the name suggests, feed on blood. Failure to drink blood for three days is enough to kill them. To survive periods of drought, vampire bats have evolved a complex social structure where the fed bats feed the hungry ones. The relationship of food-sharing depends on the trust that the bat which received food today will repay the debt by feeding the hungry ones in future. How does such a trust develop? Dr. Carter's research, posted on bioRxiv, finds that the cooperative behavior develops in small steps, where a grooming behavior precedes food-sharing. The grooming behavior provides the the dating-period before bats enter into the matrimonial bond of blood-sharing. To know more, we interviewed Dr. Carter.

To know more, please refer to:
Development of new food-sharing relationships among nonkin vampire bats
Carter et al., bioRxiv 534321. Posted: Jan. 29, 2019.
This article is a preprint and has not been peer-reviewed.

and visit the highly informative website of the Carter Lab.
Videos of vampire bats:
Advice for grad students:

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