allomother

noun al·lo·moth·er \ ˈa-lə-ˌmə-t͟hər \

Definition of allomother

plural allomothers
:an individual other than the biological mother of an offspring that performs the functions of a mother (as by caring for an infant temporarily)
  • The allomother suckled the second infant for two and one-half minutes before it was retrieved by its own mother.
  • —Sarah Blaffer HrdyThe Langurs of Abu: Female and Male Strategies of Reproduction1980
  • … by five months of age, babies spend more time with allomothers than with their own mother …
  • —Claudia R. Valeggia, in Substitute Parents: Biological and Social Perspectives on Alloparenting, 2009

allomother

verb, transitive + intransitive, allomothers; allomothered; allomothering
    • … older sisters are readily available to allomother their younger siblings …
    • —Bernard Chapais, in Cooperation in Primates and Humans: Mechanisms and Evolution2006
    • Among elephants, allomothering practice did not appear to compensate for direct experience with an offspring.
    • —Phyllis C. LeeAnimal BehaviourFebruary 1987

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