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View count:1,169
Likes:141
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Comments:18
Duration:05:47
Uploaded:2022-11-16
Last sync:2022-11-16 22:15
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Forget what Disney told you, hyena moms rock and are the true matriarchs of the jungle.

Hosted by: Hank Green (He/Him)

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Sources:
https://www.nature.com/articles/nature04540
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-018-0718-9
https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rstb.2018.0065
https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22002-androgens
https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/wild-things/why-some-male-hyenas-leave-and-others-are-content-stay-home
https://hyena-project.com/research-topics/who-females-prefer/

https://www.science.org/content/article/hyena-society-founded-friendship
https://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2019/hyenas-probably-have-more-friends-than-you-spotted-hyena-social-hierarchies/
https://www.cell.com/current-biology/pdf/S0960-9822(07)01497-2.pdf
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S030146811300087X?via%3Dihub
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0018506X00916349?via%3Dihub
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17382329/
https://www.pnas.org/doi/epdf/10.1073/pnas.84.10.3444
http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2013.0084
https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=106906
https://www.proquest.com/docview/2389687191/2EF42BD15B6745DFPQ/17?accountid=14575
https://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1121&context=bio_fac

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hyena_Standoff.jpg
https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/hyenas-bickering-royalty-free-image/1424956057?phrase=hyenas%20fight
https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/hyena-caring-royalty-free-image/1279438358?phrase=hyena%20cub&adppopup=true
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Testosteron.svg
https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/spotted-hyena-baby-royalty-free-image/488119459?phrase=hyena%20female&adppopup=true

https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/spotted-hyena-and-pups-royalty-free-image/87766872?phrase=hyena%20female&adppopup=true
https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/hyena-pack-royalty-free-image/1257697838?phrase=hyena%20pack&adppopup=true
https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/hyena-smiling-royalty-free-image/145904481?phrase=hyena%20teeth&adppopup=true
Thanks to Linode for supporting  this episode of SciShow.

You can go to linode.com/scishow to learn more and get a $100 60-day credit  on a new Linode account. [ intro ] There are a lot of animal  species that get unfairly   painted as villains in the stories we tell. Take the hyena, for example.

If most of what you know about them comes from a certain animated movie from the 90s, you might think of them all as  sneaky, stupid, sidekick scavengers. But in the real world, things are a lot more complex. One hyena species lives in large social groups with a rigid social hierarchy of their own.

And unlike in The Lion King, their leaders are female. They also have matrilineal dynasties, with mothers passing their proverbial  rule down to their daughters. So scientists have been trying to figure out how and why that happens, if it’s nature, or nurture.

And it turns as is often  the case with this question, out it’s probably a bit of both. Female members of the species Crocuta crocuta, otherwise known as the spotted hyena, are pretty awesome. Each social group, or clan, can be made of over 120 members who live according to a rigid, female-dominated social hierarchy  led by specific bloodlines that share resources,  territories, and social networks.

But how do these females and their offspring  maintain their social position in the clan? Physically, they’re bigger and  more aggressive than males. Scientists have traditionally  attributed both of these traits to a group of hormones called androgens which play an important role in the development of male sex characteristics.

And you’ve heard of at least one androgen, testosterone. Androgens are produced by both males and females in any vertebrate animal species, but typically the males make more of them. In the case of spotted hyenas, there are several androgens that females tend to have in greater abundance  than their male counterparts.

But things get a lot more complicated  when it comes to testosterone. Normally, females have less testosterone  circulating in their bodies than the males do. But that changes when they get pregnant.

Toward the end of a female hyena’s pregnancy, her androgen levels start to increase. And exposure to these extra hormones will shape   the personality of the fetus  for the rest of its life. This is the “nature” part of how spotted hyenas maintain their clan’s social hierarchy.

The amped-up androgen cocktail  a baby hyena is exposed to before they’re born will permanently rev up their aggressive tendencies. Back in 2006, a team of  scientists published research which showed that the higher  up on the social ladder a mother hyena is, the more her androgen levels  increase during pregnancy. So hyenas born to high-status mothers  will go on to be more aggressive than those of low-status mothers, and therefore higher up the  social ladder themselves.

That makes hyenas the first known mammals to use this technique to pass  down their social status. Pretty cool. But this androgen exposure works for ramping up the aggressive tendencies  for both female and male offspring.

So while it might help explain why  spotted hyenas can maintain dynasties, keeping the same families in charge, the androgen increase during a mother’s pregnancy can’t fully help us explain why  those dynasties are matriarchal. There has to be some kind of “nurture” component that helps female hyenas rule their clans, too. And for evidence of that, we turn to a study published in 2018.

Another group of scientists spent a decade tracking  the aggressive interactions of eight spotted hyena clans in Tanzania, recording which hyena came out on top each time two individuals clashed. They monitored interactions  between members in the same clan, as well as different clans, taking into account whether the members had grown up in those clans, or had immigrated into them. And they found that individual hyenas with more social support from their clan mates were more likely to dominate  in one-on-one interactions, regardless of their sex.

But females came out on top because, on average, they had stronger social ties than males. The study found that hyenas  usually support their relatives in any showdown between two individuals. A hyena’s social ties, and  therefore its social status, ultimately come down to its blood relationships.

And most males leave their family and emigrate to another clan  when they reach adulthood. Why would they do that? Well, it gives them an opportunity to find a mate that isn’t a sister or cousin.

And that increase in genetic diversity  tends to produce healthier offspring, which a species kind of needs to stick around. The fact that female hyenas are the ones that tend to stay close to  home probably contributed to the evolution of a female-dominated society. This is all super fascinating, so here’s to hyena moms, and the complex communities  they raise their kids in.

Maybe it’s time for a Hollywood makeover. I’d definitely go see a  movie called The Hyena Queen. Since SciShow videos are made for YouTube rather than Hollywood, if you learned anything that  you want to look into further, you can always find links to the original research publications in the description down below.

We believe that inquiry and accuracy are two of the main ingredients  in inspired learning. And this video’s sponsor, Linode, seems to share those values, because they post tutorials and  guides for their open source resources all over their website and YouTube channel. Linode is a cloud computing company from Akamai t hat empowers tech users at  all levels to use the services that you need and create new ones that you want.

And to support even more  inquiry and inspired learning they have award-winning guidance and customer support that will answer all of your  questions any day of the year. To satisfy your cloud computing  inquiries and learn more about it, you can click the link in the description  or head to linode.com/scishow. That link will give you a $100 60-day  credit on a new Linode account.

Thank you to Linode, to  all of the hyena scientists and to you for learning with us. [ outro]