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Rank-dependent social inheritance determines social network structure in spotted hyenas

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Science  16 Jul 2021:
Vol. 373, Issue 6552, pp. 348-352
DOI: 10.1126/science.abc1966

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Mother knows best

Inheritance of social status, and its associated costs and benefits, is well demonstrated in humans. Whether such an intergenerational system occurs in other species is harder to demonstrate. Ilany et al. looked at nearly 30 years of social interaction data in spotted hyenas, a female-dominated system with a highly structured society, and found that status inheritance is just as prominent (see the Perspective by Firth and Sheldon). Juvenile hyenas had social associations that were similar to their mothers, and the strength of the association was higher for higher-status mothers. Importantly, survival was associated with social inheritance, suggesting that these social roles are essential to hyena life.

Science, abc1966, this issue p. 348; see also abj5234, p. 274

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