Lateralized agonistic behaviour in captive red deer (Cervus elaphus) males: Dominance and body position matter during antler growth period
In the context of brain laterality, the right hemisphere is related to novelty, emotions, or aggression, whereas the left hemisphere to routine or repeated situations. Agonistic encounters are also often lateralised across species. The attacker generally shows left-eye bias during contests to employ its right hemisphere (visual signals are operated contralaterally due to optic chiasm). Since cervid males replace their primary weapon (i.e., antlers) each year, they represent a unique model for the research on flexibility in laterality. Previous (unpublished) data on red deer males during rut showed right-side lateral displays in parallel walks and low-risk behaviours, and left side preference in a higher-risk fights.
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