Kurt Kotrschal

Kurt Kotrschal
University of Vienna | UniWien · Konrad Lorenz Research Station

About

304
Publications
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Introduction

Publications

Publications (304)
Article
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Morphological traits, such as white patches, floppy ears and curly tails, are ubiquitous in domestic animals and are referred to as the 'domestication syndrome'. A commonly discussed hypothesis that has the potential to provide a unifying explanation for these traits is the 'neural crest/domestication syndrome hypothesis'. Although this hypothesis...
Article
Full-text available
The attribution of mental states ( MS ) to other species typically follows a scala naturae pattern. However, “simple” mental states, including emotions, sensing, and feelings are attributed to a wider range of animals as compared to the so-called “higher” cognitive abilities. We propose that such attributions are based on the perceptual quality ( i...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding space use of endangered species is critical for conservation planning and management. The advances in technology and data analysis allow us to collect data with unprecedented quality and inform us about the movements and habitat use of individuals and groups. With only about 700 individuals left in the wild, the Northern Bald Ibis Ger...
Article
Full-text available
Zeitgeber time budget wolf Owing to domestication, dog behaviour differs from wolf behaviour, which should also affect time budgets. At the Wolf Science Center, wolves and mongrel dogs are raised and kept in a similar way; thus, it is an ideal place to compare the time budgets of wolves and dogs in search of potential domestication-related shifts....
Article
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Dogs are becoming increasingly popular in pedagogical settings. Particularly children with special educational needs are believed to benefit from dog-assisted interventions. However, reliable evidence for supporting such claims is still scarce and reports on the effectiveness of this approach are often anecdotal. With our review we aim at evaluatin...
Article
Full-text available
Reduced brain size, compared with wild individuals, is argued to be a key characteristic of domesticated mammal species, and often cited as a key component of a putative ‘domestication syndrome’. However, brain size comparisons are often based on old, inaccessible literature and in some cases drew comparisons between domestic animals and wild speci...
Chapter
Full-text available
Tierschutz- und Tierrechtsfragen haben mittlerweile die Lehrpläne, Tagesordnungen und Schwerpunktsetzungen der unterschiedlichsten Bildungseinrichtungen und -initiativen erreicht. Deren Akteur*innen stehen vor der Herausforderung, die Relevanz von Tierethik und Tierrechten nicht nur der Sache nach darzulegen, sondern auch deren Vermittlung zu konze...
Article
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Local weather conditions may be used as environmental cues by animals to optimize their breeding behaviour, and could be affected by climate change. We measured associations between climate, breeding phenology, and reproductive output in greylag geese ( Anser anser ) across 29 years (1990–2018). The birds are individually marked, which allows accur...
Chapter
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The growing academic interest in animals and in their abilities and interactions with humans, along with insights from behavioural biology and philosophical reflections on animals, have led to a reassessment of the relationship between humans and animals—and this has had consequences for theology, which must investigate the philosophical and theolo...
Article
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Domestication has affected the social life of dogs. They seem to be less dependent on their pack members than wolves, potentially causing dogs to be more alert towards their environment, especially when resting. Such a response has been found in dogs resting alone compared to wolves in the same situation. However, as this may be influenced by socia...
Article
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Due to domestication, dogs differ from wolves in the way they respond to their environment, including to humans. Selection for tameness and the associated changes to the autonomic nervous system (ANS) regulation have been proposed as the primary mechanisms of domestication. To test this idea, we compared two low-arousal states in equally raised and...
Article
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Understanding the association between an individual’s position within a social network and its sex and age across seasons can be useful information for conservation management. For example, identifying the social position of females within a group can provide insights into reproductive potential, while the position of juveniles may be related to su...
Chapter
In this chapter, we provide an overview of the anatomy, functionality, and evolution of the fish nervous system. Our focus will be on the brain in the vertebrate group with the greatest variation in brain form and function, the actinopterygian bony fishes. We first describe central (CNS) and autonomic (ANS) nervous systems and then characterize the...
Chapter
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Mind attribution to nonhuman agents is claimed to be the base of ascribing moral rights to them. It is sufficiently common to be considered a human universal, and the way it is done is related with a range of personal and animal-related factors. The aim of the present study was to identify the folk representations that underlie the attribution of e...
Article
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Background During the past decades, avian studies have profited from the development of miniature electronic devices that allow long-term and long-range monitoring. To ensure data quality and to inform understanding of possible impacts, it is necessary to test the effects of tagging. We investigated the influence of GPS-transmitters on the behaviou...
Article
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Background Citizen science has evolved over the past decades by motivating members of the public to interact with scientists and actively participate in scientific research and monitoring. For this purpose, a proficient communication is mandatory in order to efficiently convey messages and reduce the gap of knowledge between scientists and lay peop...
Article
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Living in groups has various advantages and disadvantages for group members. We investigated the fitness consequences of early social connectivity (normalized Freeman degrees based on nearest neighbour data), physiology (levels of excreted corticosterone metabolites assayed from droppings), and agonistic interactions in a group of free-ranging grey...
Article
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Companion animal-directed speech (CADS) has previously been investigated in comparison to infant-directed speech and adult-directed speech. To investigate the influence of owner caregiving, attachment pattern, and personality on CADS, we used the Ainsworth strange situation procedure. It allowed us to assess voice source parameters of CADS across d...
Article
Animals, including horses may be valuable partners in many activities, pedagogy and therapy. Contact between humans and animals can facilitate an oxytocin secretion that, as a consequence, may alleviates stress-responses, increases social orientation and that supports attachment and caregiving. These mechanisms can be utilized in animal-assisted th...
Article
Reproductive success in monogamous species is generally affected by both behavioural and hormonal fine-tuning between pair partners. Vigilance, defence and brooding of offspring are among the main parental investments, and often the sexes adopt different roles. In the present study, we investigate how sex differences in parental behaviour and famil...
Article
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In group-living animals, social context is known to modulate physiology, behaviour and reproductive output as well as foraging and nutritional strategies. Here we investigate the digestive efficiency of 38 individuals belonging to different social categories of a semi-feral and individually marked flock of greylag geese (Anser anser). During 9 cons...
Article
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This exploratory study describes the development of a classification system for dogs’ attachment security to caregivers that adheres closely to Ainsworth’s seminal methodology. Fifty-nine adult dogs and caregivers participated in a mildly threatening laboratory encounter with a stranger (TS) and the Strange Situation (SSP). Dog and attachment exper...
Article
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Food preferences may be driven by a species’ ecology. Closely related species such as dogs and wolves may have evolved preferences for different foods owing to their differing foraging styles. Wolves have been shown to be more persistent in problem-solving experiments and more risk-prone in a foraging task. A possible element affecting these (and o...
Data
Additional two-choice task results. (PDF)
Data
Additional cafeteria paradigm methods and results. (PDF)
Data
Two-choice task & cafeteria paradigm procedure. (MP4)
Data
Model information for cafeteria paradigm (first choice). (DOCX)
Data
Model information for cafeteria paradigm (second choice). (DOCX)
Article
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Many threatened species are bred in captivity for conservation purposes and some of these programmes aim at future reintroduction. The Northern Bald Ibis, Geronticus eremita, is a Critically Endangered bird species, with recently only one population remaining in the wild (Morocco, Souss Massa region). During the last two decades, two breeding progr...
Article
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Puppy packs (consisting of only puppies) and mixed-age packs (composed of puppies and adults) were observed to test whether social play can be used for assessing and establishing social relations in wolves, Canis lupus. Differently from previous studies, we looked at play behaviours in detail, allowing us to categorize play interactions as either c...
Article
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Animals adaptively regulate their metabolic rate and hence energy expenditure over the annual cycle to cope with energetic challenges. We studied energy management in greylag geese. In all geese, profound seasonal changes of heart rate (fH) and body temperature (Tb) showed peaks in summer and troughs during winter, and also daily modulation of fH a...
Article
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The reproductive season is energetically costly as revealed by elevated glucocorticoid concentrations, constrained immune functions and an increased risk of infections. Social allies and affiliative interactions may buffer physiological stress responses and thereby alleviate associated effects. In the present study, we investigated the seasonal dif...
Data
List of all focal individuals. Name, sex (m = male, f = female), year of hatching, age class, pair bond status as well as involvement in the assay comparison are indicated. (DOCX)
Data
Initiated and received affiliative behaviour for single individuals in the reproductive and post-reproductive season. (CSV)
Data
Corticosterone metabolite (CM) concentrations for single individuals in the reproductive and post-reproductive season. (CSV)
Data
Excretion patterns of endoparasite products (coccidian oocysts and nematode eggs) for single individuals in the reproductive and post-reproductive season. (CSV)
Chapter
Full-text available
Kapitel 19.3 Tiergestützte Interventionen bei AD(H)S Seiten 305-313 Zusammen mit Andrea Beetz
Article
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In precocial species, large brood sizes are usually considered as beneficial and individuals in larger broods grow faster and are more dominant compared to individuals in small broods. However, little is known whether family size also beneficially affects the offspring's physiology. In the present study, we investigated whether leucocyte profiles i...
Article
The pre-fledging survival of Greylag goslings (Anser anser) is known to be influenced by parenting style and particularly parental vigilance. Visual and acoustic cues may be important in parental vigilance: if vision is blocked, for example in a highly structured habitat, acoustic recognition of the goslings by their parents would be beneficial. We...
Article
The vertebrate brain shows an extremely conserved layout across taxa. Still, the relative sizes of separate brain regions vary markedly between species. One interesting pattern is that larger brains seem associated with increased relative sizes only of certain brain regions, for instance telencephalon and cerebellum. Till now, the evolutionary asso...
Poster
Full-text available
By foraging in a group individuals may benefit from the experience of others and at the same time avoid predators. In the present study, we investigated whether Northern Bald Ibises (NBI, Geronticus eremita), a critically endangered avian species, associate with specific colony members during the reproductive and post-reproductive season. Focal ind...
Article
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Food sharing is relatively widespread across the animal kingdom, but research into the socio-ecological factors affecting this activity has predominantly focused on primates. These studies do suggest though that food tolerance is linked to the social relationship with potential partners. Therefore, the current study aimed to assess the social facto...
Article
Full-text available
Literacy is a key factor in occupational success and social integration. However, an increasing number of children lack appropriate reading skills. There is growing evidence that dogs have positive effects on reading performance. We investigated the short-term effects of dogs on reading performance in 36 third-graders and monitored physiological pa...
Article
The presence of a social partner may significantly contribute to coping with stressful events, whereas dyadic separation generally increases glucocorticoid levels and, thereby, might also affect immune function and health. To study the covariation between social factors, immuno-reactive corticosterone metabolites, haematology and parasite product e...
Article
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Stress responses within dyads are modulated by interactions such as mutual emotional support and conflict. We investigated dyadic psychobiological factors influencing intra-individual cortisol variability in response to different challenging situations by testing 132 owners and their dogs in a laboratory setting. Salivary cortisol was measured and...
Data
Dataset. Data used for statistical analysis. (XLSX)
Article
Full-text available
Background Blood parameters such as haematocrit or leucocyte counts are indicators of immune status and health, which can be affected, in a complex way, by exogenous as well as endogenous factors. Additionally, social context is known to be among the most potent stressors in group living individuals, therefore potentially influencing haematological...
Data
Raw data from 105 Greylag geese (Anser anser) of different age, sex and social status tested for individual/social/ environmental factors accounting for variation in different haematological parameters used for data analyses and figure preparation
Article
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The welfare of animals in captivity is of considerable societal concern. A major source of stress, especially for wild animals, is the lack of control over their environment, which includes not being able to avoid contact with human beings. Paradoxically, some studies have shown that interactions with human beings may improve the welfare of wild an...
Poster
Full-text available
Major domestication hypotheses predict that dogs (Canis familiaris) should generally be easier to train than wolves (Canis lupus) due to an increased tractability, higher behavioural plasticity and responsiveness to a wider range of stimuli in dogs, which makes them more amendable to shaping and reinforcement than wolves. However, Kortekaas and Kot...
Poster
Full-text available
Group living individuals are confronted with a variety of different stressors, with social context being among the most potent ones. Affiliative interactions may buffer individual stress responses and ultimately enhance reproductive success. In the present study, we investigated the relationship between affiliative interactions and excreted cortico...