CZAAWE Resource Article

Dynamic averaging and foraging decisions in horses (Equus callabus)
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
2005
Publication/Journal 
Journal of Comparative Psychology
ISBN 
1939-2087 0735-7036
Abstract 
The variability of most environments taxes foraging decisions by increasing the uncertainty of the information available. One solution to the problem is to use dynamic averaging, as do some granivores and carnivores. Arguably, the same strategy could be useful for grazing herbivores, even though their food renews and is more homogeneously distributed. Horses (Equus callabus) were given choices between variable patches after short or long delays. When patch information was current, horses returned to the patch that was recently best, whereas those without current information matched choices to the long-term average values of the patches. These results demonstrate that a grazing species uses dynamic averaging and indicate that, like granivores and carnivores, they can use temporal weighting to optimize foraging decisions.