2021-06-23

A fair society evolves from the “veil of ignorance”: see how the banded mongoose solves the problem of group inequality

By yqqlm yqqlm

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A fair society evolves from the “veil of ignorance”: see how the banded mongoose solves the problem of group inequality

In this new study led by the University of Exeter and the University of Roehampton, half of the pregnant mothers in the wild mongoose population were given extra food regularly, resulting in The inequality in the birth weight of the pups increases.

But after giving birth, mothers who ate well gave extra care to the smaller cubs of mothers who did not eat–not their own cubs–and the size of the cubs The difference quickly disappeared.

Said Dr. Harry Marshall from the Department of Life Sciences, Roehampton University. “In most places in nature, parents like their children.” However, in the banded mongoose, the evolution of significant birth synchrony has led to an unusual situation in which the mother does not know which cubs are hers , So you can’t choose to give them extra care.

“Our research shows that this ignorance leads to a fairer distribution of resources-in fact a fairer society.”

The study examined Uganda’s Seven groups of banded mongooses. Half of the pregnant females in each group were given 50 grams of cooked eggs per day, while the other half received no additional food. During the reproductive period when food is provided, the inequality at birth (measured by weight) is wider than during the period when no additional food is provided.

A fair society evolves from the “veil of ignorance”: see how the banded mongoose solves the problem of group inequality(1)

Michael Can, University of Exeter Professor Te said. “We predict that the’veil of ignorance’ will enable females to focus their care on the pups most in need. This is what we have discovered.

“Those who are most able to help Those who need it most provide help, and in doing so, minimize the disadvantages that their own offspring will face. This form of redistribution of care’flattened’ the initial gap and equalized the chances of cubs surviving to adulthood.

“Our results show that the veil of ignorance, a classic philosophical idea that achieves fairness in human society, also applies to this non-human society.”

The research team includes Professor Rufus-Johnstone from Cambridge University. Funding for this research came from the European Research Council and the Natural Environment Research Council. This paper, published in the journal Nature Communications, is titled: “The veil of ignorance can promote justice in mammalian societies.”