Gyr (Bos indicus) calves were studied in a milking shed where they were given the task of finding their biological mother among 46 cows tethered in two rows. Nearly all of the calves committed numerous errors. Younger calves were more likely than older ones to make incorrect discriminations. Errors tended to be in the direction of going to cows whose colour was similar to that of the calf's mother. The calves colour-matched their mothers' phenotypes rather than their own. Responses interpreted as "errors" by human observers may be adaptive behaviour for calves. Calves appear to employ elements of their mothers' phenotypes in discriminating among individuals, regardless of their kinship.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
|Author Address||Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.|
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