Darwinian fairy tales: Do horses really think this way?
From “Horse Blind Date Could Lead to Loss of Foal” (ScienceDaily, June 20, 2011), we learn that mares are more likely to miscarry their foals if they were taken away to be bred because of a complex Darwinian calculation their selfish genes are doing:
Fetal loss is a common phenomenon in domestic horses after away-mating, according to Ludek Bartoš and colleagues, from the Institute of Animal Science in the Czech Republic. When mares return home after mating with a foreign stallion, they either engage in promiscuous mating with the home males to confuse paternity, or, failing that, the mares abort the foal to avoid the likely future infanticide by the dominant home male.
Of course, the only reason the animal would engage in promiscuous mating on her return is so that her selfish genes can confuse paternity. And the only reason for casting the foal is that her selfish genes wish to hoard their potential.
No wonder evolutionary psychology is officially kaput, though horse traders don’t seem to have got the message.