I am using my own words, of course, but a research article by:
- 1. Roman Biek
- 2. Naomi Akamine
- 3. Michael K Schwartz
- 4. Toni K Ruth
- 5. Kerry M Murphy
- 6. Mary Poss.....
Cougars were good subjects as they are solitary, their range is large (up to and beyond 700 kilometers) and they are territorial, while female cougars are often philopatric. Philopatry is the behaviour of remaining, or returning to, an individual's birthplace (src: Wikipedia). The purpose of the research was to find out whether there were "predictable genetic patterns for each sex within a population."
The results were more or less as expected. Female cougars were more similar to each other genetically than the males were to other males, consistent with the dispersal of the males over a very wide area on occasion. However, it was also discovered that on average the females were no more similar to each other genetically than than expected if they had been breeding by chance (my words, their words: the females did not share "on average more alleles than expected by chance"). This was possibly put down to:
- female philopatry is less pronounced with cougars than expected
- other factors are in force such as the obvious: male dispersal (immigrating males bringing new alleles), turnover of female lineage, females do disperse but only a few kilometers, which may be enough to maitain genetic diversity.
Male Wildcat Roaming Avoids Inbreeding to Wild Cat Species
Male Wildcat Roaming Avoids Inbreeding -- Photo: by Donna62 and published under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs creative commons License