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Social Hierarchies in Groups of Free-Ranging Dogs

Shit, Piuli (2018) Social Hierarchies in Groups of Free-Ranging Dogs. Masters thesis, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata.

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    Abstract

    Canids display a wide diversity of social organizations, from solitary-living to pairs to packs. Domestic dogs are known to have descended from pack-living gray wolf-like ancestors. In every wolf pack, a dominant alpha pair is present, which has the priority of access to food. Only the dominant pair mates, while preventing the subordinates from reproducing. The subordinates, take care of the offspring born to the alpha pair, and cooperate with the alpha pair for hunting. Wolf packs have also shown cooperative hunting where pack size determines the prey size. Beside these advantages of group living, certain disadvantages have also been reported in scientific literatures. Domestic dogs, whose activities like movements and reproduction are not controlled by humans, are known as free-ranging dogs (Canis lupus familiaris). Unlike their group living ancestors, free-ranging dogs are facultatively social, prefer to forage solitarily. They are scavengers by nature, mostly depend on human garbage and generosity for their sustenance. Therefore, the natural habitat of free-ranging dogs overlaps with human habitations. They show different types of social organizations because of their close integrity with humans who have influenced dog lives significantly. Free-ranging dogs are promiscuous and they form uncorrelated groups, still, allo-parental care is well reported. So, it is interesting to find out the existence of social hierarchies in free-ranging dog groups if any. Here, I have studied different types of social hierarchies which were analyzed in three different contexts, for example, 1. in absence of any external cues, 2. with food introducing and 3. in presence of a sudden territorial problem. Till now, most groups have shown the presence of affiliative and aggression hierarchies in context 1. In context 2, dogs groups have shown the presence of feeding hierarchies. No correlation has been observed with other social hierarchies. Additionally, in order to understand the territorial behaviour of free-ranging dog groups, a barking sound has been played from voice recorder and the reaction of each group has been recorded thereafter. In territorial experiments, the results showed that free-ranging dogs are concerned about their territories. These studies can help us understand the similarities and differences of social structures in wolf and dog groups.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Additional Information: Supervisor: Dr. Anindita Bhadra
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Free-ranging Dogs; Social Hierarchy
    Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
    Divisions: Department of Biological Sciences
    Depositing User: IISER Kolkata Librarian
    Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2018 13:18
    Last Modified: 12 Nov 2018 13:18
    URI: http://eprints.iiserkol.ac.in/id/eprint/675

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