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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: African elephant play, competence and social complexity
Authors: Lee, Phyllis C
Moss, Cynthia J
Keywords: Early experiences
Survival consequences
Sex differences in play
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Sciknow Publications
Citation: Lee PC & Moss CJ (2014) African elephant play, competence and social complexity, Animal Behavior and Cognition, 1 (2), pp. 144-156.
Abstract: Play in African elephants (Loxodonta africana) is a life-long activity, with both males and females engaging in a variety of forms of play into their 40s and 50s. Play represents a potentially enriching social and physical activity for elephants, but also one with energetic costs and other risks. Having followed a cohort of individually recognized elephants from birth to adulthood in Amboseli, Kenya, we suggest here some long-term consequences for the role of play in the development of social and physical skills in elephants. Playful elephant calves appeared to be individuals with greater capacity to resist growth insults or stresses and had a reduced risk of dying as adults. The sexes differed in the social contexts and consequences of their early play experiences. Juvenile males used play as a mechanism to enable relaxed contacts with relative strangers, providing vital physical and behavioral information about future friends, associates and reproductive competitors. Females, by contrast, used play as one of the many mechanism for sustaining their social, protective and leadership roles within families.
Type: Journal Article
DOI Link:
Rights: Articles in the journal Animal Behavior and Cognition are Open Access and are distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, which permits individuals to copy, reuse, reprint, modify, distribute, transmit, and adapt their work in any medium, so long as the original work is properly cited. Under the CCAL, authors retain the ownership of the copyright for their article.
Affiliation: Psychology
Amboseli Trust for Elephants

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