Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/2961
Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Why do African elephants (Loxodonta africana) simulate oestrus? An analysis of longitudinal data
Authors: Bates, Lucy A
Handford, Rosie
Lee, Phyllis C
Njiraini, Norah
Poole, Joyce H
Sayialel, Katito
Sayialel, Soila
Moss, Cynthia J
Byrne, Richard W
Contact Email: phyllis.lee@stir.ac.uk
Keywords: oestrus signals
teaching in elephants
oestrus simulation
female kinship
Issue Date: 7-Apr-2010
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Citation: Bates LA, Handford R, Lee PC, Njiraini N, Poole JH, Sayialel K, Sayialel S, Moss CJ & Byrne RW (2010) Why do African elephants (Loxodonta africana) simulate oestrus? An analysis of longitudinal data, PLoS ONE, 5 (4), p. e10052.
Abstract: Female African elephants signal oestrus via chemicals in their urine, but they also exhibit characteristic changes to their posture, gait and behaviour when sexually receptive. Free-ranging females visually signal receptivity by holding their heads and tails high, walking with an exaggerated gait, and displaying increased tactile behaviour towards males. Parous females occasionally exhibit these visual signals at times when they are thought not to be cycling and without attracting interest from musth males. Using demographic and behavioural records spanning a continuous 28-year period, we investigated the occurrence of this “simulated” oestrus behaviour. We show that parous females in the Amboseli elephant population do simulate receptive oestrus behaviours, and this false oestrus occurs disproportionately in the presence of naïve female kin who are observed coming into oestrus for the first time. We compare several alternative hypotheses for the occurrence of this simulation: 1) false oestrus has no functional purpose (e.g., it merely results from abnormal hormonal changes); 2) false oestrus increases the reproductive success of the simulating female, by inducing sexual receptivity; and 3) false oestrus increases the inclusive fitness of the simulating female, either by increasing the access of related females to suitable males, or by encouraging appropriate oestrus behaviours from female relatives who are not responding correctly to males. Although the observed data do not fully conform to the predictions of any of these hypotheses, we rule out the first two, and tentatively suggest that parous females most likely exhibit false oestrus behaviours in order to demonstrate to naïve relatives at whom to direct their behaviour.
Type: Journal Article
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/2961
URL: http://www.plosone.org/home.action
DOI Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0010052
Rights: Copyright: © 2010 Bates et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/
Notes: Bates LA, Handford R, Lee PC, Njiraini N, Poole JH, et al. 2010 Why Do African Elephants (Loxodonta africana) Simulate Oestrus? An Analysis of Longitudinal Data. PLoS ONE 5(4): e10052. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010052
Affiliation: University of St Andrews
University of St Andrews
Psychology
Amboseli Trust for Elephants
Amboseli Trust for Elephants
Amboseli Trust for Elephants
Amboseli Trust for Elephants
Amboseli Trust for Elephants
University of St Andrews

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Bates_etal_oestrus.pdf170.02 kBAdobe PDFView/Open


This item is protected by original copyright



Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact library@stir.ac.uk providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.