Chapter

Theoretical foundations of parental care

Hope Klug, Suzanne H. Alonzo and Michael B. Bonsall

in The Evolution of Parental Care

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199692576
Published online December 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191774737 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199692576.003.0002
Theoretical foundations of parental care

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This chapter provides an overview of the ultimate factors promoting the origin and maintenance of parental care. It focuses on theoretical treatments of parental care and discusses how verbal arguments, mathematical models, and the link between theory and data contribute to our conceptual understanding of parental care. Specifically, it addresses the following key questions: When should care be provided? Which sex should provide care? How much care should be provided and to whom? Why do we see a specific form of care behaviour in a given population or species? In addressing each of these questions, the chapter explicitly links theoretical predictions with empirical patterns and summarizes current understanding of the evolutionary dynamics of parental care. In doing so, it also identifies aspects of the evolution of parental care that are not yet fully understood. It concludes by discussing future avenues of research.

Keywords: parental care; empirical patterns; verbal arguments; mathematical models; sex

Chapter.  12420 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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