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Proximate Factors.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYCH 2TT3
Professor
Brett Beston
Semester
Winter

Description
January 7 , 2013 Psych 2TT3: Animal Behaviour Proximate Factors Why do Animals do What They do? - why do birds sing? - How do sea turtles navigate the ocean to lay their eggs on the same beach where they were hatched? - How do honeybees know when the hive needs more food? - Animal behaviour asks what, why, and how - Animal behaviour is also referred to as ethology  Scientists who study animal behaviour are called ehotlogists Scientific Approaches in Animal Behaviour Research - ethologists do not attempt to describe why an animal does a behaviour before describing what the animal is doing - for example, you see two gophers interacting with each other, rolling and hopping around, running to and from each other - the behaviour you observed could have been many different things:  play  mating rituals  aggression, defending territory Niko Tinbergen - a pioneer in the field of animal behaviour - he observed animals in their natural conditions, then manipulated, or varied the conditions to see how the animals responded - observed how beewolfs find its nest among other beewolf nests - beewolfs would circle its nest in an ever-widening circle before flying away to hunt - this behaviour was an action pattern – it was performed exactly the same way each time - after the beewolf flew off, Tinbergen would move certain landmarks around the nests - when the beewolf returned, it was disoriented - Tinbergen had to describe and investigate WHAT the organism was doing before attempting to explain WHY Scientific Approaches in Animal Behaviour Research - from a scientific approach, explain why songbirds sing? Scientific Approaches - function *why) vs mechanism (how - = ultimate vs. proximate mechanisms - = adaptive significance vs machinery (genetics, physiology, neurobiology, endocrinology) - proximate perspective: anything that triggers a change in behaviour - ultimate perspective: more goal oriented approach, adaptive approach Example - plumage color in male house finches  why is there such large plumage variation (among males & between males & females)?  What is the adaptive significance of red plumage?  How is the red coloration generated? Proximate mechanisms - how is the red coloration generated? - The red coloration comes from carotenoid pigments ingested in food - Choosing to eat more carotenoid-rich food results in more red plumage - But…why is there a positive relationship between father and son plumage scores - Females rarely have any coloration whatsoever, appears that their diet is different from males - What benefits does a male get from seeking carotenoid in their diet Ultimate Mechanisms - what is the adaptive significance of red plumage? - Positive correlation between male mating success and red-colour intensity - If you add more color: all found mates, less time to pair (2-3 times faster than those who have been lightened) - Lightened: ¼ found mates, more time to pair - Behavioural response that females have towards colouration, showing a preference for red - Males who are more likely coloured are more likely to bring back food to the nest - Fathers who are brightly colour are more likely to be brightly coloured red due to a transfer of behaviour that makes them more likely to seek carotenoid rich diets - Males that are more brightly red are less likely to show signs of infection and recover more quickly therefor offspring are less likely to be exposed to disease Why is There Such Large Plumage Variation? - males but not females actively seek carotenoid-rich food - males who can afford seeking colour instead of energy are p
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