Ever hear stories about animals eating their young and wonder…WTF?!
Bank voles do it, house finches do it, wolf spiders do it (I honestly don’t what any of those are). Many species of fish even do it. And, they don’t just eat all their young, they actually decide who to munch and who to suckle.
According to a study by Hope Klug and colleague Michael Bonsall at the University of Oxford (reported in LiveScience):
…several factors contribute to parents developing a taste for their own offspring. In some cases, cannibalizing their own young puts the same evolutionary pressure on the eggs that a predator would: the faster the eggs develop, the greater their chances of survival.
Cannibalism was also found to increase the parent’s reproductive rate by apparently increasing mate attractiveness…
Klug said filial cannibalism could be a way to root out offspring that take too long to mature and therefore require a little too much parental care—this strategy would conserve the parents’ energy for subsequent, faster-developing batches of young.
“They initially overproduce offspring and then later remove some of the inferior offspring,” Klug explained.
General competition within a species for resources may also limit parents to the amount of energy and time they can spend raising their young, so they force their eggs to grow up fast or get eaten.
See the entrepreneurial analogy?
Entrepreneurs often get so emotionally-wed to their babies, they lose the ability to make good decisions.
They cling desperately to ideas, projects and businesses they may have had justification in bringing to life, but once alive, quickly prove to have far less potential than other projects that might engender equal passion, yet have a whole lot more runway.
And, the more they keep splitting their time, attention and nourishment on the entrepreneurial runts, the less time they have to nurture the golden opportunities.
That’s not to say runts never make a comeback…
But in a world where attention is quickly being split on an atomic level and we’re getting desperate to know where to focus and why…we might want to take a look back at the animal kingdom and ask if and when it makes sense to cull the herd.
So, what do YOU think?
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