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Find Out What The Latest, Surprising Discovery About Meerkats Is

May 29, 2016 06:13 PM EDT
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Move over Kardashians, the badass meerkats are here. Scientists have discovered that these furry creatures from South Africa are extremely competitive when it comes to their social status within their pack that they even resort to eating other meerkats' babies to regain dominance -- say what?

Yes, you heard it right. A recent study published in the journal Nature observed various meerkat groups in South Africa for almost 25 years and followed 12 meerkat packs for three years.

What the researchers stumbled upon is shocking. Apparently, meerkats take social hierarchy very seriously as only one pair of alpha female and male meerkat in a mob is allowed to breed. Because of this fierce competition for gene domination, female meerkats eat other meerkats' young ones to ensure that their babies survive.

Tim Clutton-Brock, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Cambridge, said as per Washington Post, "There's very strong selection on females to get to the breeding position and they consequently compete like hell to get there."

Not only that, meerkats are so badass that they eat venomous scorpions as a snack. They can also exile a certain meerkat from their pack and let him or her survive the desert alone.

Because of the meerkats' fierce competitiveness, Clutton-Brok explains that weight matters when it comes to meerkat mobs. However, unlike television where people are thinning themselves, meerkats who are heavier are more dominant as they are the ones who are responsible for breeding around 81 pups. Those who do not reach the weight criterion resort to taking care of the alpha meerkat's babies.

However, when a female meerkat is crowned as the alpha one, it's her responsibility to always be on top of everyone else to remain in power. Once a female meerkat is chosen as the mob's alpha female, she goes through a rapid weight gain for three months.

For more information about meerkats, check out the video below:

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