An Exploration of Play Behaviors in Raven Nestlings

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An Exploration of Play Behaviors in Raven Nestlings. / Osvath, Mathias; Osvath, Helena; Bååth, Rasmus.

I: Animal behavior and cognition, Vol. 1, Nr. 2, 2014, s. 157-165.

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift

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T1 - An Exploration of Play Behaviors in Raven Nestlings

AU - Osvath, Mathias

AU - Osvath, Helena

AU - Bååth, Rasmus

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - Play is widespread among vertebrates. Some animal groups stand out in their play behaviors in levels of complexity, innovativeness, sociality, and volume. Despite the vast phylogenetic distance between corvids, parrots, great apes, and dolphins, all are usually identified as among the most playful. These groups also have several complex cognitive skills in common. There is growing agreement that play has evolved multiple times under different selective pressures in different lineages. As these groups appear similar in their complex play but are separated by considerable evolutionary distance, the similarity is unlikely to result from homology. Far more probable is that the similarity has arisen from convergent or parallel evolution. It is important to conduct comparative ontogenetic play studies on these groups to learn more about what basic processes underlie complex play and whether such play is, indeed, related to complex cognition. Toward that end, we explored the play behavior of raven nestlings over the last ten days before they fledged. We found high levels of play both in terms of instances initiated and duration. The play behaviors were at level with – or above – maintenance behaviors and flight training. Most of the play was object play, but social object play and apparent play contagion was also recorded. The importance of play in developing young ravens is clear. The reasons might be less clear, however play could underlie both object-related and social development.

AB - Play is widespread among vertebrates. Some animal groups stand out in their play behaviors in levels of complexity, innovativeness, sociality, and volume. Despite the vast phylogenetic distance between corvids, parrots, great apes, and dolphins, all are usually identified as among the most playful. These groups also have several complex cognitive skills in common. There is growing agreement that play has evolved multiple times under different selective pressures in different lineages. As these groups appear similar in their complex play but are separated by considerable evolutionary distance, the similarity is unlikely to result from homology. Far more probable is that the similarity has arisen from convergent or parallel evolution. It is important to conduct comparative ontogenetic play studies on these groups to learn more about what basic processes underlie complex play and whether such play is, indeed, related to complex cognition. Toward that end, we explored the play behavior of raven nestlings over the last ten days before they fledged. We found high levels of play both in terms of instances initiated and duration. The play behaviors were at level with – or above – maintenance behaviors and flight training. Most of the play was object play, but social object play and apparent play contagion was also recorded. The importance of play in developing young ravens is clear. The reasons might be less clear, however play could underlie both object-related and social development.

KW - Raven play

KW - Avian play

KW - Development of play

KW - Raven ontogeny

KW - Physical cognition

U2 - 10.12966/abc.05.06.2014

DO - 10.12966/abc.05.06.2014

M3 - Article

VL - 1

SP - 157

EP - 165

JO - Animal behavior and cognition

JF - Animal behavior and cognition

SN - 2372-5052

IS - 2

ER -