Social Communication in Canids: Evidence for the Evolution of a Stereotyped Mammalian Display

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Science  09 Sep 1977:
Vol. 197, Issue 4308, pp. 1097-1099
DOI: 10.1126/science.197.4308.1097


The variability in the duration and form of the canid play bow was studied in infant coyotes, wolves, wolf-dog hybrids, beagles, and adult free-ranging dogs. Both duration and form showed marked stereotypy. It appears that the role of this context-specific social signal in the communication of play intention has been fostered by selection for "morphological" stereotypy.