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Vocal Individuality And Species Divergence In The Contact Calls Of Banded Penguins, Livio Favaro, Claudia Gili, Cristiano Da Rugna, Guido Gnone, Chiara Fissore, Daniel Sanchez, Alan G. McElligott, Marco Gamba, Daniela Pessani 2017 University of Turin

Vocal Individuality And Species Divergence In The Contact Calls Of Banded Penguins, Livio Favaro, Claudia Gili, Cristiano Da Rugna, Guido Gnone, Chiara Fissore, Daniel Sanchez, Alan G. Mcelligott, Marco Gamba, Daniela Pessani

Alan G. McElligott, Ph.D.

Penguins produce contact calls to maintain social relationships and group cohesion. Such vocalisations have recently been demonstrated to encode individual identity information in the African penguin. Using a source-filter theory approach, we investigated whether acoustic cues of individuality can also be found in other Spheniscus penguins and the acoustic features of contact calls have diverged within this genus. We recorded vocalisations from two ex-situ colonies of Humboldt penguin and Magellanic penguin (sympatric and potentially interbreeding in the wild) and one ex-situ group of African penguins (allopatric although capable of interbreeding with the other two species in captivity). We measured 14 ...


Goats Display Audience-Dependent Human-Directed Gazing Behaviour In A Problem-Solving Task, Christian Nawroth, Jemma M. Brett, Alan G. McElligott 2017 Queen Mary University of London

Goats Display Audience-Dependent Human-Directed Gazing Behaviour In A Problem-Solving Task, Christian Nawroth, Jemma M. Brett, Alan G. Mcelligott

Alan G. McElligott, Ph.D.

Domestication is an important factor driving changes in animal cognition and behaviour. In particular, the capacity of dogs to communicate in a referential and intentional way with humans is considered a key outcome of how domestication as a companion animal shaped the canid brain. However, the lack of comparison with other domestic animals makes general conclusions about how domestication has affected these important cognitive features difficult. We investigated human-directed behaviour in an ‘unsolvable problem’ task in a domestic, but non-companion species: goats. During the test, goats experienced a forward-facing or an away-facing person. They gazed towards the forward-facing person earlier ...


Evaluating The Impact Of Two Contrasting Tillage Practices On Soil Properties In Central Kentucky, Emily Cook 2017 Murray State University

Evaluating The Impact Of Two Contrasting Tillage Practices On Soil Properties In Central Kentucky, Emily Cook

Posters-at-the-Capitol

Farming practices such as no tillage and plowing can institute change on soil physical and chemical characteristics. In this research, the effects of long-term conventional and no-tillage systems on the selected soil properties were determined in a continuous corn system on a farm with Maury silt loam soil. These samples were taken from University of Kentucky's Research Farm (Spindletop Farm). The field used was tilled in 1969 from bluegrass sod and the first time research was conduced was in 1970. Each plot is 20 ft. by 40 ft. and for many years each plot was split with winter cover ...


Social Effects On Vocal Ontogeny In An Ungulate, The Goat, Capra Hircus, Elodie F. Briefer, Alan G. McElligott 2017 Queen Mary University of London

Social Effects On Vocal Ontogeny In An Ungulate, The Goat, Capra Hircus, Elodie F. Briefer, Alan G. Mcelligott

Alan G. McElligott, Ph.D.

Vocal plasticity is the ability of an individual to modify its vocalizations according to its environment. Humans benefit from an extreme form of vocal plasticity, allowing us to produce a wide range of sounds. This capacity to modify sounds has been shown in three bird orders and in a few nonhuman mammal species, all characterized by complex vocal communication systems. In other mammals, there is no evidence for a social impact on vocal development. We investigated whether contact calls were affected by social environment and kinship during early ontogeny in goats, a highly vocal and social species. To test the ...


Human Head Orientation And Eye Visibility As Indicators Of Attention For Goats (Capra Hircus), Christian Nawroth, Alan G. McElligott 2017 Queen Mary University of London

Human Head Orientation And Eye Visibility As Indicators Of Attention For Goats (Capra Hircus), Christian Nawroth, Alan G. Mcelligott

Alan G. McElligott, Ph.D.

Animals domesticated for working closely with humans (e.g. dogs) have been shown to be remarkable in adjusting their behaviour to human attentional stance. However, there is little evidence for this form of information perception in species domesticated for production rather than companionship. We tested domestic ungulates (goats) for their ability to differentiate attentional states of humans. In the first experiment, we investigated the effect of body and head orientation of one human experimenter on approach behaviour by goats. Test subjects (N = 24) significantly changed their behaviour when the experimenter turned its back to the subjects, but did not take ...


Goats Excel At Learning And Remembering A Highly Novel Cognitive Task, Elodie F. Briefer, Samaah Haque, Luigi Baciadonna, Alan G. McElligott 2017 Queen Mary University of London

Goats Excel At Learning And Remembering A Highly Novel Cognitive Task, Elodie F. Briefer, Samaah Haque, Luigi Baciadonna, Alan G. Mcelligott

Alan G. McElligott, Ph.D.

Introduction: The computational demands of sociality (maintaining group cohesion, reducing conflict) and ecological problems (extractive foraging, memorizing resource locations) are the main drivers proposed to explain the evolution cognition. Different predictions follow, about whether animals would preferentially learn new tasks socially or not, but the prevalent view today is that intelligent species should excel at social learning. However, the predictions were originally used to explain primate cognition, and studies of species with relatively smaller brains are rare. By contrast, domestication has often led to a decrease in brain size, which could affect cognition. In domestic animals, the relaxed selection pressures ...


Quality Prevails Over Identity In The Sexually Selected Vocalisations Of An Ageing Mammal, Elodie Briefer, Elisabetta Vannoni, Alan G. McElligott 2017 Queen Mary University of London

Quality Prevails Over Identity In The Sexually Selected Vocalisations Of An Ageing Mammal, Elodie Briefer, Elisabetta Vannoni, Alan G. Mcelligott

Alan G. McElligott, Ph.D.

Background: Male sexually selected vocalisations generally contain both individuality and quality cues that are crucial in intra- as well as inter-sexual communication. As individuality is a fixed feature whereas male phenotypic quality changes with age, individuality and quality cues may be subjected to different selection pressures over time. Individuality (for example, morphology of the vocal apparatus) and quality (for example, body size and dominance status) can both affect the vocal production mechanism, inducing the same components of vocalisations to convey both kinds of information. In this case, do quality-related changes to the acoustic structure of calls induce a modification of ...


Mother--Offspring Recognition Via Contact Calls In Cattle, Bos Taurus, Mónica Padilla de la Torre, Elodie F. Briefer, Brad M. Ochocki, Alan G. McElligott, Tom Reader 2017 University of Nottingham

Mother--Offspring Recognition Via Contact Calls In Cattle, Bos Taurus, Mónica Padilla De La Torre, Elodie F. Briefer, Brad M. Ochocki, Alan G. Mcelligott, Tom Reader

Alan G. McElligott, Ph.D.

Individual recognition in gregarious species is fundamental in order to avoid misdirected parental investment. In ungulates, two very different parental care strategies have been identified: ‘hider’ offspring usually lie concealed in vegetation whereas offspring of ‘follower’ species remain with their mothers while they forage. These two strategies have been suggested to impact on mother--offspring vocal recognition, with unidirectional recognition of the mother by offspring occurring in hiders and bidirectional recognition in followers. In domestic cattle, Bos taurus, a facultative hider species, vocal communication and recognition have not been studied in detail under free-ranging conditions, where cows and calves can graze ...


Goats Learn Socially From Humans In A Spatial Problem-Solving Task, Christian Nawroth, Luigi Baciadonna, Alan G. McElligott 2017 Queen Mary University of London

Goats Learn Socially From Humans In A Spatial Problem-Solving Task, Christian Nawroth, Luigi Baciadonna, Alan G. Mcelligott

Alan G. McElligott, Ph.D.

Domestication drives changes in animal cognition and behaviour. In particular, the capacity of dogs to socially learn from humans is considered a key outcome of how domestication shaped the canid brain. However, systematic evidence for social learning from humans in other domestic species is lacking and makes general conclusions about how domestication has affected cognitive abilities difficult. We assessed spatial and social problem-solving abilities in goats (Capra hircus) using a detour task, in which food was placed behind an inward or outward V-shaped hurdle. Goats performed better in the outward than in the inward detour without human demonstration. Importantly, a ...


Mother-Young Recognition In An Ungulate Hider Species: A Unidirectional Proce, Marco V.G. Torriani, Elisabetta Vannoni, Alan G. McElligott 2017 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

Mother-Young Recognition In An Ungulate Hider Species: A Unidirectional Proce, Marco V.G. Torriani, Elisabetta Vannoni, Alan G. Mcelligott

Alan G. McElligott, Ph.D.

Parent‐offspring recognition is usually crucial for survival of young. In mammals, olfaction often only permits identification at short range, and vocalizations are important at longer distances. Following and hiding antipredator strategies found in newborn mammals may also affect parental recognition mechanisms. We investigated mother‐offspring recognition in fallow deer, an ungulate hider species. We analyzed the structure of adult female and fawn contact calls to determine whether they are individually distinctive and tested for mother‐offspring recognition. Only females (and not fawns) have individualized vocalizations, with the fundamental frequency as the most distinctive parameter. Playback experiments showed that fawns ...


Mother Goats Do Not Forget Their Kids’ Calls, Elodie F. Briefer, Monica Padilla de la Torre, Alan G. McElligott 2017 Queen Mary University of London

Mother Goats Do Not Forget Their Kids’ Calls, Elodie F. Briefer, Monica Padilla De La Torre, Alan G. Mcelligott

Alan G. McElligott, Ph.D.

Parent–offspring recognition is crucial for offspring survival. At long distances, this recognition is mainly based on vocalizations. Because of maturation-related changes to the structure of vocalizations, parents have to learn successive call versions produced by their offspring throughout ontogeny in order to maintain recognition. However, because of the difficulties involved in following the same individuals over years, it is not clear how long this vocal memory persists. Here, we investigated long-term vocal recognition in goats. We tested responses of mothers to their kids’ calls 7–13 months after weaning. We then compared mothers’ responses to calls of their previous ...


Low Frequency Groans Indicate Larger And More Dominant Fallow Deer (Dama Dama) Males, Elisabetta Vannoni, Alan G. McElligott 2017 University of Zurich

Low Frequency Groans Indicate Larger And More Dominant Fallow Deer (Dama Dama) Males, Elisabetta Vannoni, Alan G. Mcelligott

Alan G. McElligott, Ph.D.

Background: Models of honest advertisement predict that sexually selected calls should signal male quality. In most vertebrates, high quality males have larger body sizes that determine higher social status and in turn higher reproductive success. Previous research has emphasised the importance of vocal tract resonances or formant frequencies of calls as cues to body size in mammals. However, the role of the acoustic features of vocalisations as cues to other quality-related phenotypic characteristics of callers has rarely been investigated. Methodology/Principal Findings: We examined whether the acoustic structure of fallow deer groans provides reliable information on the quality of the ...


Individual Acoustic Variation In Fallow Deer (Dama Dama) Common And Harsh Groans: A Source-Filter Theory Perspective, Elisabetta Vannoni, Alan G. McElligott 2017 University of Zurich

Individual Acoustic Variation In Fallow Deer (Dama Dama) Common And Harsh Groans: A Source-Filter Theory Perspective, Elisabetta Vannoni, Alan G. Mcelligott

Alan G. McElligott, Ph.D.

Mammals are able to distinguish conspecifics based on vocal cues, and the acoustic structure of mammal vocalizations is directly affected by the anatomy and action of the vocal apparatus. However, most studies investigating individual patterns in acoustic signals do not consider a vocal production-based perspective. In this study, we used the source-filter model of vocal production as a basis for investigating the acoustic variability of fallow deer groans. Using this approach, we quantified the potential of each acoustic component to carry information about individual identity. We also investigated if cues to individual identity carry over among the two groan types ...


Indicators Of Age, Body Size And Sex In Goat Kid Calls Revealed Using The Source–Filter Theory, Elodie F. Briefer, Alan G. McElligott 2017 Queen Mary University of London

Indicators Of Age, Body Size And Sex In Goat Kid Calls Revealed Using The Source–Filter Theory, Elodie F. Briefer, Alan G. Mcelligott

Alan G. McElligott, Ph.D.

The source–filter theory is an important framework recently applied to the study of animal vocalisations, which links the mode of vocal production to call parameters. Vocalisations can be good indicators of a sender’s characteristics, such as identity, body size, age, and even hormonal status and affective states. For these reasons, applied vocal communication research would greatly benefit from adopting the source–filter theory approach to identify key call parameters linked to physical and physiological characteristics of domestic animals. Here, we introduce the source–filter theory through a detailed analysis and interpretation of goat contact calls during development. In ...


Rescued Goats At A Sanctuary Display Positive Mood After Former Neglect, Elodie F. Briefer, Alan G. McElligott 2017 Queen Mary University of London

Rescued Goats At A Sanctuary Display Positive Mood After Former Neglect, Elodie F. Briefer, Alan G. Mcelligott

Alan G. McElligott, Ph.D.

Moods influence cognitive processes in that people in positive moods expect more positive events to occur and less negative ones (“optimistic bias”), whereas the opposite happens for people in negative moods (“pessimistic bias”). The evidence for an effect of mood on cognitive bias is also increasing in animals, suggesting that measures of optimism and pessimism could provide useful indicators of animal welfare. For obvious ethical reasons, serious poor treatments cannot be easily replicated in large mammals in order to study their long-term effects on moods. In this study, we tested the long-term effects (>2 years) of prior poor welfare on ...


Mutual Mother–Offspring Vocal Recognition In An Ungulate Hider Species (Capra Hircus), Elodie F. Briefer, Alan G. McElligott 2017 Queen Mary University of London

Mutual Mother–Offspring Vocal Recognition In An Ungulate Hider Species (Capra Hircus), Elodie F. Briefer, Alan G. Mcelligott

Alan G. McElligott, Ph.D.

Parent–offspring recognition can be essential for offspring survival and important to avoid misdirected parental care when progeny mingle in large social groups. In ungulates, offspring anti-predator strategies (hiding vs. following) result in differences in mother–offspring interactions, and thus different selection pressures acting on the recognition process during the first weeks of life. Hider offspring are isolated and relatively stationary and silent to avoid detection by predators, whereas follower offspring are mobile and rapidly mix in large social groups. For these reasons, hiders have been suggested to show low offspring call individuality leading to unidirectional recognition of mothers by ...


Intrasexual Selection Drives Sensitivity To Pitch, Formants And Duration In The Competitive Calls Of Fallow Bucks, Benjamin J. Pitcher, Elodie Briefer, Alan G. McElligott 2017 Queen Mary University of London

Intrasexual Selection Drives Sensitivity To Pitch, Formants And Duration In The Competitive Calls Of Fallow Bucks, Benjamin J. Pitcher, Elodie Briefer, Alan G. Mcelligott

Alan G. McElligott, Ph.D.

Background: Mammal vocal parameters such as fundamental frequency (or pitch; fo) and formant dispersion often provide information about quality traits of the producer (e.g. dominance and body size), suggesting that they are sexually selected. However, little experimental evidence exists demonstrating the importance of these cues in intrasexual competition, particularly fo. Male Fallow deer (bucks) produce an extremely low pitched groan. Bucks have a descended larynx and generate fo well below what is expected for animals of their size. Groan parameters are linked to caller dominance, body size and condition, suggesting that groans are the product of sexual selection. Using ...


Judgement Bias In Goats (Capra Hircus): Investigating The Effects Of Human Grooming, Luigi Baciadonna, Christian Nawroth, Alan G. McElligott 2017 Queen Mary University of London

Judgement Bias In Goats (Capra Hircus): Investigating The Effects Of Human Grooming, Luigi Baciadonna, Christian Nawroth, Alan G. Mcelligott

Alan G. McElligott, Ph.D.

Animal emotional states can be investigated by evaluating their impact on cognitive processes. In this study, we used a judgement bias paradigm to determine if shortterm positive human-animal interaction (grooming) induced a positive affective state in goats. We tested two groups of goats and trained them to discriminate between a rewarded and a non-rewarded location over nine training days. During training, the experimental group (nD9) was gently groomed by brushing their heads and backs for five min over 11 days (nine training days, plus two testing days, total time 55 min). During training, the control group (nD10) did not experience ...


Acoustic Divergence In The Rut Vocalizations Of Persian And European Fallow Deer, J. B. Stachowicz, E. Vannoni, B. J. Pitcher, E. F. Briefer, E. Geffen, A. G. McElligott 2017 University of Zürich

Acoustic Divergence In The Rut Vocalizations Of Persian And European Fallow Deer, J. B. Stachowicz, E. Vannoni, B. J. Pitcher, E. F. Briefer, E. Geffen, A. G. Mcelligott

Alan G. McElligott, Ph.D.

We conducted a study of the male rut vocalizations (groans) of two closely related species, Persian and European fallow deer. Persian fallow deer are endangered, restricted to Iran and Israel, and their rut vocalizations have never been studied. By contrast, European fallow deer are one of the most common deer species in the world, and have been the subject of numerous detailed studies. Persian bucks are approximately 16% larger than European bucks, and this can have important implications for vocalizations. Persian bucks were recorded in Israel, and European bucks were recorded in the UK and Ireland. We measured temporal, fundamental ...


Acoustic Analysis Of Cattle (Bos Taurus) Mother–Offspring Contact Calls From A Source–Filter Theory Perspective, Monica Padilla de la Torre, Elodie F. Briefer, Tom Reader, Alan G. McElligott 2017 University of Nottingham

Acoustic Analysis Of Cattle (Bos Taurus) Mother–Offspring Contact Calls From A Source–Filter Theory Perspective, Monica Padilla De La Torre, Elodie F. Briefer, Tom Reader, Alan G. Mcelligott

Alan G. McElligott, Ph.D.

Cattle vocalisations have been proposed as potential indicators of animal welfare. How-ever, very few studies have investigated the acoustic structure and information encoded in these vocalisations using advanced analysis techniques. Vocalisations play key roles in a wide range of communication contexts; e.g. for individual recognition and to help coordinate social behaviours. Two factors have greatly assisted our progress in developing an understanding of animal vocal communication. Firstly, more rigorous call analysis methods allow us to describe the variation in the vocal parameters in unprecedented detail. Secondly, the adoption of the “source–filter theory” of call production links the acoustic ...


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