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At the moment I don’t seem to be able to avoid meerkats, thanks to the BBC. Not that I want to – they make far more fascinating viewing than most of the usual crap on the telly. I can see why they are such popular animals – their illicit pregnancies, wayward children, and neighbourhood rivalries are very Soap Opera-ish (and how we love to anthropomorphise!).

This article is an overview of the research being done by the behavioural ecologist Tim Clutton-Brock and his colleagues – and gives quite a good summary of the science behind the Soap.

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Meerkat fight (Image: Andrew Young)