Play behavior in the golden hamster Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/6m311r823

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  • Intensive observations were made of play behavior in the young hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) from 14 to 54 days of age. Behavior was recorded using movie film and a multi-channel event recorder. Play was first seen at 14 days of age. The amount of play increased rapidly thereafter, remaining relatively high until about day 40. Playing then decreased, becoming sporadic by day 54. This decline corresponded to an increase in agonistic encounters. Play bouts were generally shorter during the first days of play, and also shorter after day 40, as aggression increased. When play bout duration was plotted as a survivorship function, the result was significantly different from a straight line, indicating that the probability of a bout ending is not independent of how long it has lasted. Play bouts were relatively simple at first, becoming more complex as motor patterns were added during ontogeny. The sequence of motor patterns in playful interactions resembled the patterns later seen in agonistic encounters. The data are discussed with regard to some of the current theories of play. Play does not seem to function for exercise or the formation of positive social bonds. It is hypothesized that play in this species may be only the ontogeny of agonistic behavior.
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  • File scanned at 300 ppi (Monochrome) using Capture Perfect 3.0 on a Canon DR-9050C in PDF format. CVista PdfCompressor 4.0 was used for pdf compression and textual OCR.
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