Revisiting Play Elements and Self-Handicaping in Play: A Comparative Ethogram of Five Old World Monkey Species
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Play behavior has been viewed as a mixture of elements drawn from ´serious´ behavior, interspersed by ritualized play signals. Two other types of play behaviors have been overlooked: patterns that are dissimilar from any serious behavior and patterns with self-handicapping character. The authors show that these 2 types of patterns can constitute a major part of play repertoire. The play ethograms of 5 monkey species (Semnopithecus entellus, Erythrocebus patas, Chlorocebus pygerythrus, Cercopithecus neglectus, and Cercopithecus diana) were constructed. The authors evaluated the self-handicapping character of each pattern and in Hanuman langurs also the (dis)similarity to serious behavior. Of the 74 patterns in the 5 species, 33 (45 %) had a self-handicapping character. Of 48 patterns observed in langurs, 16 (33 %) were totally dissimilar to any serious langur behavior. The authors discuss the possibility that the different types of play elements may have different functions in play.
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