Play in Harbour seals (Phoca vitulina)

Authors

  • D. Renouf,

    1. Department of Psychology and Marine Sciences Research Laboratory, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John's, Newfoundland, Canada A1B 3times9
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  • J. W. Lawson

    1. Department of Psychology and Marine Sciences Research Laboratory, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John's, Newfoundland, Canada A1B 3times9
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Abstract

Harbour seals in a breeding colony at Miquelon exhibited 13 distinct types of play behaviour, 80% of which was solitary locomotor play. Most play was displayed by yearlings and juveniles, though a significant amount of adult play occurred as well. Mothers and pups rarely played. Yearlings played socially as often as alone, but seals of other age classes played by themselves most often. Only social play resembled adult activities. It is suggested that the function of mammalian play has been obscured by its similarity to adult behaviour.

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