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Understanding the Socio-cognitive Abilities of Freeranging Dogs in India

Das, Jayjit (2017) Understanding the Socio-cognitive Abilities of Freeranging Dogs in India. Masters thesis, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata.

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    Abstract

    there are diverse theories of how and where a process might have triggered the evolution of traits with which we can associate the present day dogs with, there are convincing evidences which shows that the background process responsible for shaping such behaviouris domestication. Therefore it is interesting to try and figure out what changes have selection pressures caused to the socio-cognitive abilities of these domesticated canids to help them occupy a new niche. Since, the free-ranging dogs perhaps represent an earlier condition of domestication, as compared to the pets, and also because they form 70 - 80% of world's dog population, it becomes imperative to study their ethology, ecology and cognition to fill the existing void in scientific literature. Our study showed that the dogs showed strong bias against making physical contact with strangers. The final choice did not influence the time taken to reach a decision to respond. However, we have seen an immediate effect of social reward in terms of decreased latency in the one off test. Long term social reward was more effective in influencing the decision of dogs to interact with humans, than long term food reward. There is behavioural plasticity in response to the environmental stimuli in the long term experiment. Their behaviour might be shaped due to the adaptive advantages associated with receiving social reward from a human, which in the long run results in change in their response. Thus, understanding human tendencies and acting 220accordingly to it have been a major evolutionary advantage of dogs which might helped them in 221self-domestication and also help them live in a human-dominated society.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Additional Information: Supervisor: Dr. Anindita Bhadra
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Dogs; Free-ranging Dogs; India; Socio-cognitive Abilities
    Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
    Divisions: Department of Biological Sciences
    Depositing User: IISER Kolkata Librarian
    Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2017 13:00
    Last Modified: 17 Nov 2017 13:00
    URI: http://eprints.iiserkol.ac.in/id/eprint/596

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