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Describe what Ultimate and Proximate causes of behavior are. Provide examples.
- According to early ethologist Niko Tinbergen, four questions should be asked about behavior:
- What stimulus elicits the behavior, and what physiological mechanisms mediate the response?
- How does the animal’s experience during growth and development influence the response mechanisms?
- How does the behavior aid survival and reproduction?What is the behavior’s evolutionary history?
- These questions highlight the complementary nature of proximate and ultimate perspectives
- Proximate causation, or “how” explanations, focus on
- Environmental stimuli that trigger a behavior
- Genetic, physiological, and anatomical mechanisms underlying a behavior
- Ultimate causation, or “why” explanations, focus on
- Evolutionary significance of a behavior
What are the three fundamental Ultimate causes of behavior? (What is the purpose behind behaviors?)
- Behavior helps an animal
- Obtain food
- Find a partner for sexual reproduction
- Maintain homeostasis
Explain what is meant by Nature vs Nurture. Draw a diagram that represents the links between Behavior, Genetics, Environment, and Fitness. Be able to describe or provide an example that incorporates each.
- Animal behavior is governed by complex interactions between genetic and environmental factors
- When behavioral variation within a species corresponds to environmental variation, it may be evidence of past evolution
- Genetic components of behavior evolve through natural selection
- Behavior can affect fitness by influencing foraging and mate choice
How is kinesis different for taxis? Provide an example of each.
- A kinesis is a simple change in activity or turning rate in response to a stimulus
- For example, sow bugs become more active in dry areas and less active in humid areas
- Though sow bug behavior varies with humidity, sow bugs do not move toward or away from specific moisture levels
- A taxis is a more or less automatic, oriented movement toward or away from a stimulus
- Many stream fish exhibit a positive taxis and automatically swim in an upstream direction
- This taxis prevents them from being swept away and keeps them facing the direction from which food will come
What are the different ways that communication can occur? Describe an example of non-human communication.
- Communication is the transmission and reception of signals
- Animals communicate using visual, chemical, tactile, and auditory signals
- The type of signal is closely related to lifestyle and environment
- Honeybees show complex communication with symbolic language
- A bee returning from the field performs a dance to communicate information about the position of a food source
How does associative learning explain why different species of stinging insects have similar colors?
- In associative learning, animals associate one feature of their environment with another
- For example, a white-footed mouse will avoid eating caterpillars with specific colors after a bad experience with a distasteful monarch butterfly caterpillar
- Natural selection for groups, associate stimulus with colors
- Ex. fox stung by yellow/black bee (stinging insects) fox fox then avoids all yellow/black animals
- yellow black animals are now naturally selected because they have a greater chance for survival
How do cross-fostering studies help us understand environmental and genetic influences on behavior?
- Cross-fostering studies help behavioral ecologists to identify the contribution of environment to an animal’s behavior
- A cross-fostering study places the young from one species in the care of adults from another species
Why does the mode of fertilization (internal vs external) correlate with the presence or absence of male paternal care?
- Females can be certain that eggs laid or young born contain her genes; however, paternal certainty depends on mating behavior
- Certainty of paternity influences parental care and mating behavior
- Paternal certainty is relatively low in species with internal fertilization because mating and birth are separated over time
- Certainty of paternity is much higher when egg laying and mating occur together, as in external fertilizationIn species with external fertilization, parental care is at least as likely to be by males as by females
Explain the ultimate and proximate causes of Foraging behavior. Provide an example.
- In Drosophila melanogaster, variation in a gene dictates foraging behavior in the larvae
- Natural selection favors different foraging behavior depending on the density of the population
- Optimal foraging model views foraging behavior as a compromise between benefits of nutrition and costs of obtaining food
- The costs of obtaining food include energy expenditure and the risk of being eaten while foraging
- Natural selection should favor foraging behavior that minimizes the costs and maximizes the benefits
- Foraging: to find most food, survive while getting food, and with using least amount of energy
- Deer: Ultimate causes-evolutionary history has selected the deer that go out in morning to grassy areads to survive the most
- Proximate cause-while foraging eat youngest, greenest leaves, through senses (stimulus response), smell lion and leap off
If natural selection favors “selfish” behaviors, how are altruistic behaviors explained?
- On occasion, some animals behave in ways that reduce their individual fitness but increase the fitness of others
- This kind of behavior is called altruism, or selflessness
- Altruism can be explained by inclusive fitness
- Inclusive fitness is the total effect an individual has on proliferating its genes by producing offspring and helping close relatives produce offspring
How are human behaviors different from all other animals?
- No other species comes close to matching the social learning and cultural transmission that occurs among humans
- Human culture is related to evolutionary theory in the distinct discipline of sociobiology
- Human behavior, like that of other species, results from interactions between genes and environment