Present address: Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD.
How did the Great Auk raise its young?
Version of Record online: 2 AUG 2010
© 2010 The Authors. Journal Compilation © 2010 European Society For Evolutionary Biology
Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume 23, Issue 9, pages 1899–1906, September 2010
How to Cite
HOUSTON, A. I., WOOD, J. and WILKINSON, M. (2010), How did the Great Auk raise its young?. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 23: 1899–1906. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2010.02047.x
- Issue online: 2 AUG 2010
- Version of Record online: 2 AUG 2010
- Received 20 March 2010; revised 29 May 2010; accepted 1 June 2010
- Great Auk;
- phylogenetic comparison;
- precocial strategy;
- time budget
The extant auks show three strategies of chick rearing – precocial (chicks leave the nest site when a few days old), intermediate (young raised to a mass of around 20% of adult mass) and semi-precocial (young raised to a mass of around 65% of adult mass). It is not known which strategy the extinct Great Auk used. In this paper, we investigate this issue by a novel combination of a time and energy budget model and phylogenetic comparison. The first approach indicates that for reasonable estimates of the equation parameters, the Great Auk could have followed an intermediate strategy. For a limited range of parameters, the Great Auk could have followed the semi-precocial strategy. Phylogenetic comparison shows that it is unlikely that the Great Auk followed a precocial strategy. The results suggest that the Great Auk followed an intermediate strategy as does its presumed closest extant relative the Razorbill.