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Non-Metric Analysis of Behavioral Interaction Sequences in Captive Jackals (Canis Aureus L.)

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A new method is used for the analysis of precopulatory display of jackals. Behavior patterns are described as sequences of configurations. Each configuration is composed of discrete, simultaneous events, such as specific car position, specific tail position, specific body position, etc. With the aid of a non-metric computer technique, it is demonstrated that the recurrence of any particular configuration of behavioral events, performed by a pair of jackals during display, is extremely rare (30 out of 2000). In spite of this heterogeneity of configurations, there is, within short periods of time, some regularity in the composition of the events which form a configuration. This paper explores the question, to what degree the events that form a configuration are discrete to the jackals themselves, as distinguished from the observer, i.e. to what degree they possess a particular significance to the animals, and what is the nature of this significance. The significance of a specific event is defined in this paper as its relatedness to other events both in the configuration and in the temporal sequence. The permanent change in the regularity of composition implies a permanent change in the significance of specific events. This indicates that it is necessary to trace the nature of the change from one significance to another, rather than to look for stable, unchanging significances.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology, University of Tel-Aviv, Israel


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