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Sep 17, 2023


S1: Some psychologists believe that fairness is a concept exclusive to humans. S2: However, recently conducted research shows that fairness can evolve in not only human societies but also animal societies. S3: In studying the behavior of seven groups of banded mongooses in Uganda, zoologist Harry Marshall determined that, within a group of these small, cat-like animals, there exists a remarkable birth synchrony; most of the expectant females give birth to their pups on the same night, creating what zoologists call a “veil of ignorance” — because all of the pups have almost identical looks, smells, and vocal frequencies, parents are unable to determine which pups belong to which parents and therefore cannot choose to provide them with extra care on that basis alone. S4: Therefore, whereas, in most of the natural world, parents favor their own offspring, these mongoose parents care for all of the pups equitably, giving the litter a better chance of survival than they would otherwise have. S5: For example, by providing extra care to pups born with low birth weights, including allowing these pups the opportunity to suckle greater amounts of milk than heavier pups, female mongooses are able to provide a fairness calibration, with the result that within a few weeks after birth, any disparities in weight among pups have been greatly reduced.

The passage suggests that Harry Marshall’s work provides evidence for which of the following views?

No banded mongoose within a group gives birth to pups on a night when others do not.

Fairness can evolve in animals other than banded mongooses.

Banded mongoose mothers are aware that they give the litter a better chance of survival by caring for all of the pups equitably.

Only banded mongooses experience the phenomenon of birth synchrony.

The veil of ignorance results in mongoose parents’ not providing extra care to their own offspring.

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