Differences in the behavior of domestic and wild animals

Regardless of the characteristics of individuals, Differences in behavior are observed between wild animals and domestic animalsfor example, in the social and sexual spheres and in reactivity to stress, which are largely linked to the effects of domestication on emotional responses and cognition.

Domesticated animals are descended from their wild counterparts through a process of gradual transformation that spans many generations and involves the combined action of various forces. This process is always accompanied by changes in the animals’ physical appearance, and usually involves greater variability in some characteristics, such as size and color, in domestic forms.

The process of domestication

According to the broad and modern biological definition of domestication, it is a coevolutionary process that is based on mutualism, i.e. a relationship in which a species (domestikac) creates an environment in which it actively controls both survival and reproduction. of another kind (domestic) in order to obtain resources and/or various benefits. This allows for an increase in the reproductive success of the organisms involved, leading to the evolution of traits that ensure a stable union of domesticated and domesticated across generations.

Intergenerational environmental influences and gene-environment interactions during early development contribute to the domesticated phenotype. Most process definitions are anthropocentric and based on human control; they therefore minimize the role of biological context and marginalize the role of non-human domesticators. However, we know that we are not the only domesticating species; for example, termites, ants and beetles have also demonstrated their ability to domesticate various types of fungi.

Pet behavior

Domesticated phenotypes vary widely depending on the selective pressures that drive their expression, and may vary at different stages of domestication, both within and between species. taxa. The situation is further complicated by crossbreeding and backcrossing with wild individuals. It is therefore difficult to detect many common features attributable to domestication. Furthermore, until recently, most domestication studies were based on comparisons of limited specimens from wild and domestic populations, raising concerns about the reliability of generalizing the attribution of differences to the effects of domestication.

However, there are some ethological characteristics shared by domestic species, and among them we find a reduced fight-or-flight response (known in English as fight and run) and high social tolerance. Major changes may also include greater attention to human cues, greater promiscuity, and the maintenance into adulthood of nurturing behaviors—such as the use of infantile vocalizations and playful attitudes—typical of youth. Dogs, compared to wolves, have been described as typical examples of this paedomorphic tendency.


Behavior of wild animals

Wild species appear more exploratory and less anxious than domesticated animals, which probably helps them cope with constantly changing and fluctuating environmental conditions. In addition, they show more intense responses to stress, as their levels of glucocorticoids, the best known of which is cortisol, and catecholamines such as adrenaline tell us. Since an increase in these substances provides the animal with more energy, it is possible that a robust reactivity of stress hormone systems is a prerequisite for successfully coping with the demands of an ecological niche, for example high predation pressure.

Again, wild animals are relatively more aggressive and less attentive to human signals. However, there is some individual variation in this, with some wolves being better than some dogs at foraging by following human fingertips, and this ability has also been found in other gregarious species, including megachiroptera bats (Pteropus sp.), such as flying foxes and African elephants (Loxodonta Africana). However, there is no evidence that wild animals have superior cognitive abilities. Wild guinea pigs (Cavia aperea) even domestic guinea pigs can excel in some tasks (Cavia aperea f. porcellus) in others.


Differences between domestic and wild animals

Differences in behavioral and endocrine profiles between domestic and wild animals of the same species reflect the different needs of the natural environment in which they live and the new conditions created after interacting with humans to which others are exposed. Finally, there is evidence that personality emerges in both wild and domestic animals, supporting the development of individual differences.


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