Male acorn woodpecker

Vivek Khanzode
August 17, 2021
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Woodpecker on a tree
Vivek Khanzode

Male acorn woodpecker.

A new study published today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B suggests that even complex cooperative breeding strategies may offer direct evolutionary benefits over an animal’s lifetime, and perhaps offers clues into how social behavior first evolved in humans and other animals. The study finds that male acorn woodpeckers breeding polygamously in duos or trios of males actually fathered more offspring than males breeding alone with a single female, contrary to conventional thinking among biologists that monogamous males necessarily produce more offspring than those in polygamous groups.

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