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Right-sided bias in fallow deer terminating parallel walks: evidence for lateralization during a lateral display

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Domhnall Jennings


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Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE Lateral displays are assumed to provide contestants the opportunity to assess opponent quality. Once an individual has acquired sufficient information, a decision to terminate the display can be made and either escalation to fighting or de-escalation and movement away from the opponent occurs. Because cerebral lateralization enhances the processing of complex cognitive tasks in the visual domain, it has been suggested that lateralization might provide an efficient means by which an assessment of opponent quality is facilitated. Here I sought to investigate whether there is evidence for lateralization in the decision to terminate parallel walks during fights recorded between individually identifiable male fallow deer (Dama dama). Males displayed their right or left flanks equally often during parallel walks; however, they exhibited a significant bias to terminate parallel walks when displaying their right flank: there was evidence for lateralization for both the number and duration of parallel walks. Larger males had an increasing tendency to show a right-sided bias when terminating the parallel walk and heavier males terminated parallel walks sooner than lighter males. Therefore, larger individuals displayed a greater tendency towards lateralization than smaller individuals. Moreover, lighter males showed a greater tendency to escalate parallel walks to fighting. These results show evidence for lateralization in the decision to terminate lateral displays in ungulates with bigger individuals displaying a greater tendency towards lateralization than smaller individuals, and suggest that lateralization provides a process by which contestants can resolve contests at a low cost.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jennings DJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Animal Behaviour

Year: 2012

Volume: 83

Issue: 6

Pages: 1427-1432

Print publication date: 12/04/2012

ISSN (print): 0003-3472

ISSN (electronic): 1095-8282

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2012.03.014


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