Animal Play: Evolutionary, Comparative and Ecological Perspectives

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Why do animals play? Play has been described in animals as diverse as reptiles, birds and mammals, so what benefits does it provide and how did it evolve? Careful, quantitative studies of social, locomotor and object play behavior are now beginning to answer these questions and shed light on many other aspects of both animal and human behavior. This unique interdisciplinary volume brings together the major findings about play in a wide range of species including humans. Topics about play include the evolutionary history of play, play structure, function and development, and sex and individual differences. Animal Play is destined to become the benchmark volume in this subject for many years to come, and will provide a source of inspiration and understanding for students and researchers in behavioral biology, neurobiology, psychology and anthropology.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This volume is not only interdisciplinary but also manages to be instructively comparative in a broad sense....This breadth and the accompanying list of references assure great usefulness for this volume. An enjoyable and affordable compendium." Choice

"Readers interested in play behavior (and behavior in general) will find this book a worthwhile read." American Scientist

This interdisciplinary volume brings together the major findings about play in a wide range of species including humans." Animal Cognition

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521586566
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 292
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. The evolutionary origins of play revisited: lessons from turtles G. M. Burghardt; 3. Play in common ravens (Corvus corax) B. Heinrich and R. Smolker; 4. Object play by adult animals B. Heinrich and R. Smolker; 5. Kangaroos at play: play behaviour in the Macropodoidea D. M. Watson; 6. Intentional communication and social play: how and why animals negotiate and agree to play M. Bekoff and C. Allen; 7. The structure-function interface in the analysis of play fighting S. M. Pellis and V. C. Pellis; 8. Sparring as play in young pronghorn males M. N. Miller and J. A. Byers; 9. Squirrel monkey playfighting: making the case for a cognitive training hypothesis M. Biben; 10. Self assessment in juvenile play K. V. Thompson; 11. Biological effects of locomotor play: getting into shape, or something more specific? J. A. Byers; 12. Neurobiological substrates of play behaviour: glimpses into the structure and function of mammalian playfulness S. M. Siviy; 13. Play as an organizing principle: clinical evidence and personal observations S. Brown.

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