Playback as a Tool for Studying Contests between Social Groups

  • Karen McComb
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 228)


When animals compete over resources, opponents are rarely equally matched (Parker 1974; Maynard Smith and Parker 1976; Parker and Rubenstein 1981; Maynard Smith 1982). Apart from differences in ownership of the resource at the outset of the contest (Davies 1978; Packer and Pusey 1982) and in the value of the resource to each opponent (Riechert 1979; Austad 1983), opponents differ in their ability to acquire / defend the resource — Resource Holding Potential (Parker 1974; Riechert 1978; Sigurjonsdottir and Parker 1981). Games theory models have shown that where fights endanger future survival and reproductive success, individuals should monitor the value of the resource and the Resource Holding Potential of their opponent, and withdraw without escalation if they would be likely to lose an ensuing fight (Parker 1974; Parker and Rubenstein 1981).


Opposing Group Wolf Pack Resource Holding African Lion Social Mammal 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen McComb
    • 1
  1. 1.Large Animal Research Group, Department of ZoologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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