Cow to Cow

Dale F. Lott

in American Bison

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780520233386
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930742 | DOI:
Cow to Cow

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This chapter describes the simpler, more durable, but equally important relationships cows develop with one another. The forebears of bison cows must have experienced both plenty and scarcity in their evolutionary history — times when dominance was worth fighting for and times when it wasn't. Changing circumstances select for changeable behavior, with different strategies for different times and places. The bison pay the costs of striving for dominance when the benefits are high, and don't when the benefits are low. Being a dominant member of a group has high potential payoff. In Yellowstone Park, subordinates searched more and harvested less than dominants. A dominant will eat everything it clears and some that it doesn't clear. A subordinate will eat only part of what it clears.

Keywords: cow relationships; bison cows; dominance; evolutionary history; subordinates

Chapter.  1747 words. 

Subjects: Biological Sciences

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