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Dominance Relationships Between Adult Plains Zebra Stallions in Semi-Captivity

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The relationships between 4-5 adult zebra stallions, living in a safari park, were investigated over a period of 5 years. Asymmetries in the distributions of a number of behaviours could be explained by adopting dominance as an intervening variable. Dominance in stallions was of a bipolar nature with on the one hand behaviours representing subordinance and defence, and on the other hand behaviours reinforcing and confirming dominance. Expression of formal dominance seems to play a minor role. The dyadic relationships of stallions differed as to the number of behaviours reflecting dominance relationships. Although often linear rank-orders could be constructed, these rank-orders were not necessarily identical. This means that the concept of dominance is of only limited value for describing relationships between zebra stallions.

Affiliations: 1: Laboratory for Comparative Physiology, University of Utrecht, Jan van Galenstraat 40, 3572 LA Utrecht, The Netherlands


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