Kookaburra chick agression

To: "Birding-aus (E-mail)" <>
Subject: Kookaburra chick agression
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2005 15:23:42 +1100
Hi Steve,
No you are not missing anything. (The same happens with some raptors). Simplistic explanations in evolutionary biology do tend to downplay the role of randomness. There is no guarantee that the first chick to hatch has the best genes. Only that all other things being equal, better younger chicks may have better survival ability in that regime (better able to survive in spite of the hardships) and better older chicks may also have better survival ability in that regime (better able to beat up younger siblings quicker). The advantage need not be absolute. A minute proportional advantage is enough of a difference given the numbers involved. Also better families may be able to provide a big enough nest and enough food for all young to survive.
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