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Tibetan antelope rests like a Puppet

By Yunchao Luo, Lin Wang, Le Yang, Ming Tan, Yiqian Wu, Yuhang Li, Zhongqiu Li

Posted 10 Sep 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/413393

Rest contributes to a large part of animals’ daily life, and animals usually rest in two ways, standing or in recumbence. For small or medium sized ungulates, they bed to rest in most cases, and standing rest is very rare and hardly seen. Here we described a standing rest behaviour of medium sized Tibetan antelopes (Pantholops hodgsonii) living on the roof of the world, Tibet Plateau, which has not been reported before. We named the standing rest behaviour here as Puppet behaviour, since the antelope can stand still for a certain time just like a Puppet. Of the total 304 focal individuals, 48.3% (98/203) of adult and sub-adult males expressed the Puppet behaviour, whereas only 6.3% (6/96) of females did, indicating an obvious sexual difference. Puppet behaviour occurred more frequently at noon and in the afternoon on sunny and cloudy days, meaning that day time and weather were both influential factors. Puppet behaviour was usually accompanied with rumination and sometimes ended with leg-shaking. Our results suggest that Puppet behaviour is probably an adaptive form of rest, which serves a thermoregulatory and anti-predation function, and is much simpler and safer than recumbent rest.

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