The Mysteries of Matrilinities: Why Grandmother Killer Whales Favor Their Male Descendants

1193 WordsFeb 4, 20185 Pages
The Mysteries of Matrilinities Why grandmother killer whales favor their male descendants Killer whales are apex predators, lacking natural predators of their own, and inhabit all of the worlds oceans and most of our seas. They vary broadly in behavior, diet, and communication patterns. There are three main sympatric ecotypes of killer whales present in the Pacific Northwest, known as “resident”, “transient” and “offshore” killer whales. Of these, the resident whales of the Salish sea have been by far the most heavily studied. Their prey is salmon, chinook salmon in particular, and they hunt cooperatively. The resident pods are divided into “northern residents” and “southern residents”, the latter being comprized of three pods (J, K, and L). These three pods are well researched, as their markings and distinct calls make identification extraordinarily accessible to human scientists. Orca are distinct among mammals for the long post-reprodutive life of female orca, who provides extensive parental care even after menopause. Numerous studies have shown a clear correlation between the mother’s survival and the offsprings fitness. This paper will explore the matrilinal social structures of Puget Sound’s orcas to assess the evolutionary advantages to close mother-son relations. In particular, it will examine the difference in behavior of female and male offspring upon reaching sexual maturity, and relate this to similarities or differences in parental care output from male and

    More about The Mysteries of Matrilinities: Why Grandmother Killer Whales Favor Their Male Descendants

      Open Document