Scots universities’ research finds that two parents are better than one in the animal world

University of Glasgow (Getty Images)

ANIMALS raised by two parents grow better and have higher survival rates than offspring reared by a single male or female parent, a study has found.

Researchers from the universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh studied burying beetles and compared the survival and growth of the young when they were reared by one or both of their parents.

It was found that larvae reared by parents who worked together were larger at the end of the parental care period than those reared by parents who worked alone. The larvae reared by two parents were also more likely to survive to adulthood.

The team discovered this was the case even though males “exploited” females when co-parenting.

The study, published in Proceedings B, found males and females gave equal care when raising young alone, but when raising young together, males gave less care, forcing females to compensate by taking on more of the workload.

Experts said that “biparental care”, when parents co-operate to provide care for their offspring, is observed in many species including in birds, fishes, insects and mammals.

Dr Natalie Pilakouta, from the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, said: “We have shown that offspring grow better and are more likely to survive if they are reared by both parents.

“This might help explain why biparental care has evolved in so many species across the animal kingdom.”

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