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Behavioural Assessment in Muskox Calves

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image of Behaviour

A photographic record and a quantitative analysis have been made of the behaviour of 7 male and 6 female muskox calves at 6 months of age. Stable dominance relationships were present. The dominance rank was not dependent on aggressiveness. Females were heavier than males, but they were not able to make use of this advantage, since males largely ignored it. High dominance rank ensured undisturbed food selection. The sexes were equally aggressive. Mounting (mock copulation) was a prerogative of males; it did not serve as a demonstration of dominance. Contesting (mock fighting) frequency was the same in males and females, and initiations were made equally often by the two sexes. Females and males did not differ from each other with regard to playing with objects. Nibbling and gentle pawing (stimulating another conspecific to get up) were mainly shown by female calves.

Affiliations: 1: (Department of Veterinary Anatomy, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada


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