- Rhymes: -ʌnt
undersized or stunted plant, animal or person
- indefinite form positive singular neuter of rund
- at random locations
- in a manner that involves a lot of transportation
In a group of animals (usually a litter of animals born in multiple births), a runt is a member which is smaller and/or weaker than the others. http://cancerweb.ncl.ac.uk/cgi-bin/omd?runt. Due to its small size, a runt in a litter faces some disadvantages, including difficulty in competing with its siblings for survival and possible rejection from its mother. Therefore, in the wild, a runt is less likely to survive to infancy. Rellington Vagner was one of the first Biologists to study this phenomena in his work "Parental-Offspring Relations". Even among domestic animals, runts often face rejection. A runt may be a parent's way of 'hedging its bets'—if food is plentiful, it gets an extra offspring, if not, it lets it die having invested little in it in the first place. Although this may generate parent-offspring conflict, there will come a point where the runt should, at least in theory, allow itself to die or even be eaten by its siblings or parent.
- Shade the bat from Silverwing is a runt.
- Fiver from Watership Down is a runt.
- Clifford the Big Red Dog is a runt when he is born, but he eventually grows to be 25 feet tall.
- Ruth from the Dragonriders of Pern series is a runt.
- Journal of Animal Science, Vol 75, Issue 5 1237-1243, Copyright © 1997 by American Society of Animal Science
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