Science & Equine

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Written by Anouk van Breukelen
Posted in Social behavior

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The emotions behind snorting

The acoustic expression of positive emotions is poorly know in many animals, like horses. Recent studies suggest that snorting can be a reliable indicator of positive emotions in ungulate species.

Snorting is a non-vocal sound produced by air expiration through the nostrils. Hypothesized is that the acoustic sound and structure of the snort can vary considering the emotional state. The aim of the study was to see if snorts can be an indicator of positive emotions in horses.

The study found that both types of snorts were preferentially observed in positive contexts, but pulsed snort were most associated with appreciated situations, like when in pasture with ears forward.

Expert opinion by Anouk van Breukelen

This study helps the identification of positive emotions in horse and in general the understanding of acoustic emotions' coding.

> From: Stomp et al., The Science of Nature 105 (2018) 57. All rights reserved to Springer-Verlag GmbH. Click here for the online summary.

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