The ‘domestication syndrome’ defines a suite of features that domesticated animals possess as the result of the artificial selection operated by Homo sapiens since the Neolithic. An interesting anthropological question is whether such features, including increased tameness and reduced aggression, apply to all domesticated forms. We investigated this issue in the domestic pig (Sus scrofa). We video-recorded and analysed aggression and social play (mostly play-fighting) sessions from piglets (three litters; n = 24) and wild boar hybrids (domestic pig mother x wild boar father; three litters; n = 27) from 6–50 days of age, raised in the same woodland/grassland habitat and extensive farming management (ethical farm ‘Parva Domus’, Cavagnolo, Torino). Play and aggression session structure was assessed via Asymmetry (AI; offensive/defensive pattern balance), Shannon (H′; pattern variability), and Pielou (J; pattern evenness) indices. We found that piglets played more (especially after the 20th day of life) and engaged in less variable and uniform sessions than wild boar hybrids. Compared to hybrids, piglets showed less variable but more frequent (especially when approaching weaning) and asymmetrical aggressive events. Thus, the domestication syndrome does not seem to fully apply to either social play or aggression, possibly because artificial selection has produced greater tameness of pigs towards humans than towards conspecifics.

Does the Domestication Syndrome Apply to the Domestic Pig? Not Completely

Edoardo Collarini
First
;
Giada Cordoni
Co-last
;
Ivan Norscia
Co-last
2022

Abstract

The ‘domestication syndrome’ defines a suite of features that domesticated animals possess as the result of the artificial selection operated by Homo sapiens since the Neolithic. An interesting anthropological question is whether such features, including increased tameness and reduced aggression, apply to all domesticated forms. We investigated this issue in the domestic pig (Sus scrofa). We video-recorded and analysed aggression and social play (mostly play-fighting) sessions from piglets (three litters; n = 24) and wild boar hybrids (domestic pig mother x wild boar father; three litters; n = 27) from 6–50 days of age, raised in the same woodland/grassland habitat and extensive farming management (ethical farm ‘Parva Domus’, Cavagnolo, Torino). Play and aggression session structure was assessed via Asymmetry (AI; offensive/defensive pattern balance), Shannon (H′; pattern variability), and Pielou (J; pattern evenness) indices. We found that piglets played more (especially after the 20th day of life) and engaged in less variable and uniform sessions than wild boar hybrids. Compared to hybrids, piglets showed less variable but more frequent (especially when approaching weaning) and asymmetrical aggressive events. Thus, the domestication syndrome does not seem to fully apply to either social play or aggression, possibly because artificial selection has produced greater tameness of pigs towards humans than towards conspecifics.
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https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/12/18/2458
Sus scrofa; swine; domestication; artificial selection; Neolithic; new stone age; play; aggression; Homo sapiens; livestock
Edoardo Collarini; Marika Gioia; Giada Cordoni; Ivan Norscia
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1874324
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