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Pigs

Summer 2002

Sure pigs play. But what does it mean?

“They spin around, twirl, and take a big leap in the air . . . ,” says Ruth Newberry. “They zigzag a bit . . . jump up and down, and then flop.”

A dramatic new figure skating routine? No. Newberry is an animal scientist at Washington State University commenting on the behavior that she and colleagues observed in a study designed to learn the effects that early play experience has on the behavior of piglets after they are weaned from their mothers. In broader context, the study is part of a worldwide effort to figure out the function of play in mammals.

One hypothesis, … » More …