Mother-young relationships in captive ungulates: variability and clustering

We recorded four measures of mother-young association and the percentage of time the young spent lying during the first week after birth for 59 mother-young pairs belonging to 22 species and seven families of ungulates. The measures of mother-young association were positively correlated with each other and negatively correlated with the percentage of time the young spent lying. Three cluster analyses, based on various combinations of measures, separated the bovids into two groups recognizable as `followers' and 'hiders'. When the data on all 22 species were considered, five consistent species groups occurred in the three cluster analyses. The traditional follower-hider dichotomy provides a rough characterization of mother-young relationships in many ungulates, but does not adequately describe the behavioural variation present. By using standardized quantitative measures, we were able to characterize this variation and to establish a framework for future study.

Last Updated
January 27, 2021
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