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Cooperation and competition within coalitions of male lions: kin selection or game theory?

Naturevolume 296pages740742 (1982) | Download Citation



Male lions form cooperative coalitions which compete against other coalitions for exclusive access to female groups1,2. This cooperation and the apparently low level of intra-coalition competition over oestrous females, have been considered to be due to the close genetic relatedness of the males in the coalition1–4. However, we now present evidence that breeding coalitions of male lions include non-relatives much more commonly than was generally supposed, that intra-coalition competition over females is widespread and that kinship is not the primary factor determining levels of competition.

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  1. Allee Laboratory of Animal Behavior, 5712 South Ingleside, Chicago, Illinois, 60637, USA

    • Craig Packer
    •  & Anne E. Pusey


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