Although individuals of a particular species frequently differ in a variety of characteristics, the implications of those differences are often not well understood. One exception to this general rule is the known positive impacts of size and condition, but what about the effects of certain preferences and choices–the tendency, for example, to utilize one type of habitat rather than another? A recent study on woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) suggests that individual variations can literally be a matter of life and death–in this case not for the animals themselves, but for their offspring.

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