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Video: Animal Games: Why And Why?
2023 Author: Molly Page | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 22:49
What is a game? There is still no clear definition of the game, although everyone understands what it is about. It is impossible not to admire the playing puppies or kittens. Play is a typical behavior for a developing organism. Some animals have a precise age when they play. For example, in laboratory rats, play behavior is observed from 22-24 days to 60 days of life, in hamsters - from 28 days to 58-68 days. Often an adult animal (mother) starts the game: a lioness encourages lion cubs to catch the tip of her tail, monkeys turn on their backs and tickle their babies, cats, licking kittens, start a fight with them.
In the games of various animals, common features can be distinguished. The movements in the game do not differ from those found in other situations: hunting, killing prey, fighting, pursuit, sexual activity. Observing the game of a kitten with a ball of wool, one cannot help but see the similarities with hunting for mice, and the jumps and movements of the paws when catching a piece of paper suspended on a string are the same as when an adult cat is hunting for birds. K. Lorenz describes how an adult cat protects her kittens from a dog - she goes to her with a characteristic lateral movement on her outstretched paws, ruffling her fur and fluffing her tail. This characteristic sideways movement is often seen in playing kittens, but is never used in adult fights. Despite the imitation of hunting or fighting, the animals do not seriously harm each other. The game often combines elements of different types of behavior that are not related to each other in adulthood, for example, hunting and sex. The order in which the movements follow each other may also not correspond to the behavior of an adult animal, and sometimes be exactly the opposite. Elements of the game are exaggerated, repeated many times, but often not completed. Usually, the animal gives a signal that it is about to start playing. In rhesus monkeys, this is "playful mimicry", in cats and dogs, a seizure on the chest and forepaws. Sometimes in play, an animal uses a completely new movement that is not found in adult animals. A game somersault in a tame badger and a roll over the head with a change in route in a puppy running away from its mother are described. Play behavior is easily interrupted and the animal returns to normal life.
Scientists came to the conclusion that the basis of play behavior is motivation (need, desire), which is different from the motivation of the behavior that is depicted in play (in hunting - motivation for hunger, in sexual behavior - motivation for procreation, etc.). The motivation that underlies the game is so strong that it can compete with other desires of the animal. For example, a young chimpanzee who had not been fed for 15 hours chose to play with other monkeys over 40% of the time. Animals of different species that live in the same house often play together. Dog and cat can play hide and seek, chase, attack. The games of a dog and a fox that grew up in the same house are described.
What is the game for? First of all, play is a workout for the development of the muscular, musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular and nervous systems. It helps to increase muscle mass, heart mass, density of the capillary (small vessels in organs) channel, increase the vital capacity of the lungs, and the growth rate of the body. The game introduces the young animal to the environment. A kitten playing with a ball of wool begins to realize that not all small, soft, fast-moving objects are edible like mice. Depriving an animal of the ability to play has far-reaching consequences. The rhesus monkey, which grew up in isolation from other monkeys with a mother's dummy (a frame lined with fur, in which a bottle of milk was reinforced), did not know how to subsequently play with peers, establish normal relations with relatives, and subsequently mate. Difficulties in the period of sexual behavior were also observed in dogs that grew up without communication with other dogs. Separate elements of sexual, hunting behavior are practiced in the games of the young even before the onset of puberty, therefore, the development of behavior is anticipatory.
The study of the body's energy metabolism revealed an inverse relationship between the level of metabolism at rest and play activity. So the game makes up for the deficit in the body's energy expenditure at a young age.
A study of the activity of nerve cells in the parietal region of the cerebral cortex showed that their ability to respond to several stimuli (light, sound, touching the skin) increases from 6% of cells in 8-10 day old kittens to 89% in 49-50 day old kittens, that is, it coincides with development of game behavior. Consequently, play is necessary for the development of not only the bodily, but also the brain structures of the organism.
The study of play behavior allows us to draw practical conclusions:
1) play is vital for a young animal, 2) play is good for teaching a dog, cat and other animals, since this is the most successful period for animals to acquire new skills, information about the environment
Natalia Shvyrkova, "Cat and Dog" magazine
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