Role of the nursing order in social development of mountain lion kittens


  • Sharon Pfeifer

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Ecology and Behavioral Biology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
    • Department of Environmental, Population and Organismic Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309, U.S.A.
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Early patterns of social interaction, including fighting while nursing, social grooming, and social play, were analyzed in a litter of mountain lion kittens to determine if interactive patterns formed during nursing persist into subsequent social stages (i.e., social grooming and social play). The data suggest that the nursing order established by mountain lion kittens has an important role in early social development by initially directing interactive patterns among littermates.