Study of Dynamics of Social Organization and Cognitive Faculty in Indian Free-ranging Dogs

Dasgupta, Sandipan (2015) Study of Dynamics of Social Organization and Cognitive Faculty in Indian Free-ranging Dogs. Masters thesis, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata.

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Domesticated dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) have descended from gray wolves roughly 11- 30,000 years ago and free-ranging dogs in India they have co-existed with humans for centuries. They have been reported to form stable and distinct social groups. However, this organization can also be quite dynamic, and it stems from the dispersal and interaction between individuals. Moreover, the long association of humans has also resulted in cognitive abilities that are distinct from wolves and pet dogs. Hence, it is an excellent model system to study the evolution of social dynamics and cognitive faculty in dogs. In this study, we observed the social organization of dogs in two different communities within the IISER Kolkata campus across three different seasons – autumn, winter and spring. Our analysis throws light on the composition of the communities, their time activity budgets, rate of migration and change of community structure, inter-group and intra-group interaction, dominance hierarchies of communities as well as the variation of social dynamics across seasons. Furthermore, to test the cognitive abilities of the dogs and also check for dependence of dogs on humans for problem solving, we designed a simple solvable task for free-ranging dogs. A long-standing hypothesis is that wolves might have better problem solving abilities, while dogs have better social-cognitive properties. Consistent with this hypothesis, we find that dogs attempt the task but mostly fail. They also demonstrate interaction with humans during the task. We hope to extend this protocol to wild wolves and pet dogs to build a comparative model to understand how domestication has influenced the cognitive abilities of dogs.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information: Supervisor: Dr. Anindita Bhadra
Uncontrolled Keywords: Canis lupus familiaris; Cognitive Ability; Cognitive Faculty; Dogs; Indian Free-ranging Dogs; Social Dynamics; Social Organization;
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Department of Biological Sciences
Depositing User: IISER Kolkata Librarian
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2016 05:06
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2016 05:06

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