New paper: risk exaggerates nepotism in vampire bats

Here's the paper. In evolutionary biology, we often draw a line between "altruism" and other cooperative traits. Altruistic traits are special in that they lead to a net cost to one's survival and reproduction. Some traits are clear cases: when a bee stings you it dies, so the suicidal bee sting is an altruistic trait. But … Continue reading New paper: risk exaggerates nepotism in vampire bats

Recent media article about vampire bats and friendship

Sapiens Magazine just put out an article about vampire bats and friendship. The author Leah Shaffer did a great job, probably the most accurate media story on the vampire bats I can remember. Usually, journalists get a lot wrong, but they did a great job fact-checking this one. Also, below is an edited transcript of … Continue reading Recent media article about vampire bats and friendship

Social inheritance in vampire food-sharing networks?

We are soon to be wrapping up several analyses and starting some new ones. I want to mention one analysis that never really got off the ground, but it's a good idea. My intern Jana asked me a great question: Does a female vampire bat inherit some of her food-sharing partners from her mother? This question … Continue reading Social inheritance in vampire food-sharing networks?

New paper on vampire bat communication

Our newest paper is Common vampire bat contact calls attract past food-sharing partners in the journal Animal Behaviour. You can download the paper for free until June 12, 2016 here at this link: http://authors.elsevier.com/a/1SwLKmjLdkSa It's a simple playback experiment where we disentangled kinship and food sharing as predictors of a bat's attraction to calls of different individuals. … Continue reading New paper on vampire bat communication

Non-maternal allogrooming of pups

We have four new vampire bats. The bats here at the field station have been breeding in captivity, which is a good sign that they are doing well, and it ensures we have some highly related dyads for our experiments. My first intern, Jana, just took this neat video of a mother and her new pup … Continue reading Non-maternal allogrooming of pups

What can vampire bats teach us about human cooperation?

I have been asked this question several times by journalists and people during outreach events. So here's my answer: If you really want to understand human cooperation, you should study humans. Specifically, we should study how humans cooperate with each other under natural circumstances across a wide diversity of cultures. And we should manipulate the … Continue reading What can vampire bats teach us about human cooperation?

New review of bat cooperation

Most of the 1,300 species of bats live in groups. Indeed, some are quite social, with relationships that last for years. For the latest issue on the evolution of direct benefits cooperation in Philosophical Transactions B, Jerry Wilkinson was asked to write a review on cooperation in bats and he co-wrote the article (PDF) with Kisi Bohn, and Danielle … Continue reading New review of bat cooperation

Social benefits of non-kin food sharing by female vampire bats

My new paper just came out in Proceedings B. For now, it's freely available to download at the journal website here. The paper describes an experiment that 'failed' in one sense but yielded another very neat finding nonetheless. The main goals was to detect for contingent reciprocity between close relatives. I kept several pairs of mothers … Continue reading Social benefits of non-kin food sharing by female vampire bats