|n.||1.||(Zool.) A South African carnivore (Suricata suricata, formerly Cynictis penicillata), allied to the ichneumons, having a lemurlike face and only four toes; called also |
While his compatrioits scuffle about in the sand for delicious scorpions or fat, tasty mice, one meerkat stands alone, bolt upright on an exposed perch, scanning for hawks with dark eyes wide, ready to call out at the first sign of danger. Like other such guards in the animal kingdom, these endearingly vulnerable meerkat sentinels have long impressed biologists as true altruists - creatures willing to forgo food and brave danger to protect others.
Now a study in the current
. . .
Even the adorable meerkat may yet redeem itself as a bit of an altruist. Although being a sentinel may itself not entail great risk, it is hard to imagine a selfish reason for their giving a shout of warning before dashing for cover. . . .
|Noun||1.||meerkat - a mongoose-like viverrine of South Africa having a face like a lemur and only four toes|