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How about play in animals?
Today I have the pleasure to discuss outstanding research in ethology with Elisabetta Palagi from the University of Pisa, who has been a leader in Primatology for over 30 years, and, among several successes, was recently awarded the Animal Behavior Society Fellowship Award for her outstanding research.
In this episode, we explore animal play behavior, focusing on social play. We examine its definition and functions across different animal groups, gaining insights into its diverse manifestations. We delve into the methodologies used by ethologists to study play and its decline as animals mature. We discuss the paradoxical nature of play, its role in social competence development, and its significance among infant chimpanzees. Communication and rough-and-tumble play are explored, along with self-handicapping and the enduring importance of play in adulthood. We compare playfulness in bonobos and chimpanzees and investigate facial expressions and mimicry in play and sexual behavior. This journey unravels the evolutionary significance of play, communication dynamics, and its impact on social bonds in animal societies.
If you liked this episode, please consider subscribing to The Biotech Futurist on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Google Podcast, or your favorite platform, and leaving a positive review. The growth of this podcast depends critically on word-of-mouth. Thank you for your help. Follow The Biotech Futurist on Instagram and YouTube, and DM or email me if you have any curiosity. You can always download the transcript of this episode and find the links to the papers we mention on my website, lucafusarbassini.com. The jingle is by Gabriele Fusar Bassini. Elisabetta Palagi’s picture is by Luca Ragaini.
[ACADEMIC] Rough-and-tumble play as a window on animal communication: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/brv.12172#:~:text=ABSTRACT,of%20escalation%20to%20serious%20fighting.
[ACADEMIC] Not just for fun! Social play as a springboard for adult social competence in human and non-human primates: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00265-018-2506-6
[ACADEMIC] Mirror replication of sexual facial expressions increases the success of sexual contacts in bonobos: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-75790-3#:~:text=In%20bonobos%2C%20during%20sex%20RFM,%2D%20and%20hetero%2Dsexual%20interactions