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Re: Cain and Abel syndrome

>More specifically, it is probably related to maintaining a proper
>ballance in the predator/prey ratio. (usually 3%-8% of all taxa
>in any particular ecosystem are carnivores).
>Omnivorous birds (the majority of all extant avians) show little
>inclination to this culling effect.

This could well be true, but I think that simple explanations such as 
survival in a nest can apply better in a situation like this.  Usually 
the oldest individual in a nest is the strongest and selective-wise the 
strongest individual is the individual that you want to pass on its 
genes.  It can relate somewhat to the food-web in that it hardly happens 
in areas with an abundance of food, but as I pointed out it is also an 
insurance policy: if one more egg than necessary is laid and the food 
conditions are right, the species can get a stronger foothold in the 
ecosystem; this can work the other way around if their is not a lot of 
food and an excess of predators would cause a die-off related to 
over-predation of food.  It is related somewhat to the predator-prey 
ratio, but I think it is probably more closely related to the survival 
of a species and also to the bablance of the ecosystem.  

Matt Troutman

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