Books  Animal & General Biology  Animals: Behaviour 

Animal Play: Evolutionary, Comparative, and Ecological Perspectives

  • Interdisciplinary - of interest to students and researchers in neurobiology, zoology, psychology, anthropology
  • Covers a wide range of animals, from reptiles to humans
  • First book on this burgeoning subject for over 15 years - long overdue

By: Marc Bekoff(Editor), John A Byers(Editor)

274 pages, 5 b/w photos, 17 illustrations, 8 tables

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Jun 1998 | #69731 | ISBN: 0521586569
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £50.99 $68/€58 approx
Hardback | Jun 1998 | #69730 | ISBN: 0521583837
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £108.00 $144/€122 approx

About this book

Why do animals play? Play has been described in animals as diverse as reptiles, birds and mammals, so what benefits does it provide and how did it evolve? Careful, quantitative studies of social, locomotor and object play behaviour are now beginning to answer these questions and to shed light on many other aspects of both animal and human behaviour. This unique interdisciplinary volume brings together the major findings about play in a wide range of species including humans. Topics about play include the evolutionary history of play, play structure, function and development, and sex and individual differences. Animal Play is destined to become the benchmark volume in this subject for many years to come, and will provide a source of inspiration and understanding for students and researchers in behavioural biology, neurobiology, psychology and anthropology.

"[...] anyone interested in play should not hesitate to read or buy this book. It puts down a definite marker for play research in the 1990s, and suggests many interesting leads for research on play through into the next millenium."
- Peter K. Smith, Animal Behaviour


1. Introduction
2. The evolutionary origins of play revisited: lessons from turtles G. M. Burghardt
3. Play in common ravens (Corvus corax) B. Heinrich and R. Smolker
4. Object play by adult animalsB. Heinrich and R. Smolker
5. Kangaroos at play: play behaviour in the Macropodoidea D. M. Watson
6. Intentional communication and social play: how and why animals negotiate and agree to play M. Bekoff and C. Allen
7. The structure-function interface in the analysis of play fighting S. M. Pellis and V. C. Pellis
8. Sparring as play in young pronghorn males M. N. Miller and J. A. Byers
9. Squirrel monkey playfighting: making the case for a cognitive training hypothesis M. Biben
10. Self assessment in juvenile play K. V. Thompson
11. Biological effects of locomotor play: getting into shape, or something more specific? J. A. Byers
12. Neurobiological substrates of play behaviour: glimpses into the structure and function of mammalian playfulness S. M. Siviy
13. Play as an organizing principle: clinical evidence and personal observations S. Brown

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