My good friend Chloe is a mutt without an off button. 8 am? Time to play. 12 pm? Time to play. 7 pm? Time to play. 4 am? Guess what time it is!
Of course such behavior is a pure delight to watch, but as scientists we must ask ourselves the question: why? Why so much play, Chloe? What’s the point?
It may seem silly to ask why play behavior occurs, because after all it’s play. Play! Play is all about fun; what’s there to study? And in fact, that attitude led to play being neglected as a study topic for much of scientific history. But play behavior is a category of behavior just like foraging behavior or sexual behavior or social behavior. If it occurs a lot- and it does- it must be evolutionarily important.
Okay, so we want to study play. So what counts as play behavior?
Seriously, how the hell do you define play?