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Exploration of Novel Objects By Marsupials

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The investigatory behaviour of 30 animals from 6 species of marsupial to novel objects differing in shape, texture and odour has been measured. 1. The qualitative response of each species to the object was described. 2. For all animals tested with a set of four objects, there was a decline in response from the first presentation to a second presentation immediately after the first. Response to the objects declined in the course of a five minute tetst. 3. The highest level of reactivity to novel objects was found in the carnivorous Dasyuroides, and this was contrasted with low levels of reacivity in the herbivorous Megaleia rufa and Macropus eugenii. 4. The results are interpreted in terms of the suggestion of GLICKMAN & SROGES (1966) that species differences in reactivity may be related to diferences in feeding patterns and prey-predator relationships, as well as to brain-behaviour correlations.

Affiliations: 1: (School of Zoology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

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