“Squirrel privilege is real.”
This is one of those stories where you’re just sure it must be parody, but it isn’t. Apparently, social justice is an issue among animals, too.
The College Fix reports:
‘Checking privilege in the animal kingdom’: Biologists investigate animal ‘inequality’
“Squirrel privilege is real.” “Checking Privilege in the Animal Kingdom.” “Even Hermit Crabs Have Wealth Inequality.”
These headlines hail from Salon and The New York Times, respectively, and represent a growing trend among scholars and the media to tackle animal “inequality” — and also argue humans can learn important lessons about income inequality and privilege from such studies.
“Inequality is a threat to our social fabric, but it’s not just a human problem,” argued the World Economic Forum in January in a piece that connected human and non-human inequality.
Headlined “Inequality is not confined to humans. Animals are divided by privilege, too,” it was based on an essay published in Behavioral Ecology in December 2021, an essay which helped spawn a spate of recent articles on the topic.
“Mammals, fish, birds and even insects have been shown to benefit from inherited wealth and abilities,” the forum’s report stated. “…Some have a better quality of life than other members of the same species – including access to food and shelter – just because of their parents’ status.”
A flock of inequality examples were cited in the piece as it relates to animals such as hyenas, clownfish and wasps (the insects, not White Anglo-Saxon Protestants). Hyenas inherit territory, and similarly clownfish inherit sea anemones (think Finding Nemo). Wasps inherit hover nests:
Spotted hyenas inherit their rank in the pack from their mothers and these high-status families tend to be larger and outlive other families. Individual females often join to defend shared territory, with the highest born having the most access to resources.
Even underwater, rank and privilege persist, the study reveals. Individual clownfish inherit the right to hide in large sea anemones. This ensures them better protection from predators than those without such a birthright.
In the insect world, some female wasps inherit their nests from their parents which means they are more likely to produce offspring than less privileged “lone” females who are denied access to the nest.
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