AVS-4100 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Dairy Cattle, Social Group, Non-Rapid Eye Movement Sleep

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Unit 3 Exam Review Compiled Notes
10 Social Behavior
What is social behavior?
o Social behavior is the glue that allows groups of animals to
function, and that allows us to interact with the domestic
animals we care for
Social behavior happens whenever two or more animals
interact
Ex: humans interacting with animals; crows fighting
over picnic scraps; dogs wrestling in a park; a dairy
cow licking her newborn calf
Humans are dominant (like deciding what
domesticated animals eat)
o Domestic animals are typically kept in groups; as they are
descended from group-living ancestors
Different types of interaction within the groups (males to
males, males to females, females to females, parents to
young)
Why do animals need to live in groups?
Do you think the ability of animals to live in groups may
have been a prerequisite for domestication?
Do you think nature selected for living in groups? Or how
did social behavior evolve?
Practice question: what happens when animals live in groups?
o Better detection of danger
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o Better defense of the young
o Competition over resources
o Group can be easily detected by predators
o Increased disease
Why live in a group?
o Living in a group has a lot of benefits but also might initiate
some problems
o Detection of danger
Large groups have many eyes, ears, and noses for early
detection of predators, and can detect danger more
reliably and quickly than solitary individuals
Living in large group reduces the cost of scanning for
predators; as frequent scanning for predator would reduce
efficiency of other behaviors such as “foraging, sleeping”
so each group member can scan less and forage more than
solitary individuals
Ex: horse sleeping very deep when near another horse
(snoring); chicken dreaming when surrounded by other
chickens
o Defense of the vulnerable individuals “young”:
Adults working as a team can defend the young more
effectively against predators
Predators usually prefer to attack vulnerable young of
large animals
i.e., buffalos, big group of adults acting in a concert
can create a formidable deterrent
o dilution of risk
dilute the risk of predation by forming simple aggregation
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a member of a pair should be half as likely to be eaten by
predators as would the same animal on its own “less likely
to be eaten by a predator when you are one of many
possibly prey items”
o Locating and sharing resources:
Group members can share the cost of
Searching for patchy resources
Cover more territory
In group foraging animals deploy several strategies to
share the cost of foraging behavior: as some individuals
will serve as food finders while others will be more of
scroungers, and switch
Feeding in groups may also increase the probability of
capturing a prey
i.e., pack of wolves can kill a moose; no single wolf
can kill a moose
o of course, living in groups would enhance social learning
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