Male and female mammals kill their own species for different reasons

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grizzly bears

A female grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) fights a male to protect her cubs

agefotostock / Alamy

Adult mammals have the capacity to kill other members of their own species, but males and females generally seem to kill for different reasons.

Biologists have already studied mammalian infanticide, the killing of infants by adults of the same species, but the same isn’t true for killing adults. This means we don’t know as much about why adult mammals sometimes kill other adults within their species.

In order to figure out whether there are any patterns in killing behaviour, José María Gómez Reyes at the National Research Council Arid Zones Experimental Station in Spain and his colleagues analysed the causes of death among 1384 mammal species.

Of these, the team found evidence…

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