Clannish skinks:
They say (Lizard Lairs are All in the Family SCIENCE vol. 332 no. 6032 May 20, 2011 page 902) that skinks, a kind of lizard, in Australia build huge multi-family dwellings, with multiple entrances and specific areas for defecation.  Multiple generations will pitch in to build and maintain the structure and one such structure may last for years. 

This kind of cooperative behavior has been described before in birds and mammals.  What has recently been learned is that all those skinks are close relatives. 

The explanation on offer is that animals will cooperate with close kin, presumably on the “selfish gene” principle that helping near kin reproduce is almost as good as accomplishing reproduction yourself. 

What is not on offer is the obvious one.  Those big shelters mean that the skinks spend a lot of time with close kin, have enhanced opportunity of mating with kin, and enjoy a fertility bonus. 

As usual, the data continue to pile up but the unifying principle is lost on people.

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