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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Sunday, March 4, 2018


The fact animals play is something we all know. However, have you ever wondered which is the main objective of play for animals? Do all animals play? Is play something exclusive for the youngest ones?

Irene Vila-9/4/16

In psychology and ethology (the science of animal behavior), play is defined as a range of voluntary and internally motivated activities(spontaneous actions), normally associated with enjoyment and recreational pleasure, which aren’t usually related withWhen playing, an animal usually tries to manipulate objects or maybe to make new combinations of movements always in a controlled environment; that is, the main objective of play is not to improve directly its survival, but to learn about its own limits and abilities. So, play differs from any other action or behavior essentially due to its context and the existence of limits and rules.


Thus, for example, we can consider bitting as an aggressive behavior unless it takes place within the context of a recreational and controlled activity. An only growl would be enough for wolverines to make it clear to their opponents they have gone too far with the play! a direct and immediate increase of survival (or fitness) of the organism.
Due to its complexity, play is considered as an activity almost exclusive of mammals (it’s known that almost 80% of mammals show differents expressions of play), mainly as a consequence of a major development of their nervous system in contrast to other organisms. Play has also been observed with less frequency on birds, and its existence in other animal groups, such as reptiles, amphibians or even fishes shouldn’t be ruled out, because some of them have shown rudimentary forms of play (mostly in captivity).

On the other hand, as far as we know play has been considered an activity exclusive of young individuals, but the truth is that some animals (specially primates) keep playing during adulthood
During the early months of an animal’s life, the establishment of emotional bonds between parents (especially mothers) and their offspring is an essential fact to assure both cognitive and emotional development. Despite being rudimentary, some gestures or actions which mothers and their youths stablish (tickling, vocalizations, gazes) can be considered as different forms of play which allow offspring to react and develop.

Movement and body play

Jump, run, stretch the body or even vocalize (e.g. by singing or growling) are all of them activities more beneficious than you think. The body play allows organisms to test the limits of their own body and of their surrounding environment (How far I am able to jump? Which effect has the gravity on my own body? Am I flexible enough to stretch my body and reach the next branch?).


Movement and corporal play produce a feeling of joy on organisms. In addition, they help organisms to earn self-confidence and they seems to have an important effect on brain organization.


Object play

Using objects during play is a usual fact in primates, but there exist other animals that also use them. The selected object acquires different and unique characteristics for the organism, which essentially use it to have fun. Some studies propose that the greater the level of manipulation of the object is, the bigger is the development of neural connections.

Social play

Playing with friends is always funnier. However, is not only the enjoyment of playing with other organisms the main benefit of social play, but the acquirement of abilities and behaviors that will be of a major importance during adulthood.
Some social play allow organisms to develop social skills (interaction) by the stablishment of different codes of conduct and rules. At the same time, in some organisms (whether wolfs, primates or deer, carnivorous or herbivorous) social play prepares them to face a wide range of situations that will take place in adulthood, but in a safe and controlled environment: fights, bites and tests of strength are only a few examples.


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