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BIOA02H3 Lecture Notes - Survivorship Curve, Greylag Goose, European Herring Gull

Biological Sciences
Course Code
Connie Soros

of 19
Biology of Animal Behavior (Chp. 39)
Instinctive & Learned Behavior
o Instinctive
genetically programmed response
complete and functional on first use
Fixed Action Patterns
Often functional; feeding, defense, mating, parental care
repeatable in response to sign stimuli (Smiling at human babies)
in reality a baby would smile even if looking at a mask with just two
eyes; two big circles that are the stimulus for a smile
Herring gulls; sign stimuli the red spot on beak; releases begging
can be modified by experiences (snakes)
genetic basis (snakes)
genetic control of food preference; baby snakes of both coastal and
central at the slug extract; the coastal snakes flicked their tongues out;
only 17% of the central snakes ate the banana slugs
o Learned
dependent upon particular experience during development
don't always do it right the first time
Process of experiences changing behavior
learn key features of stimuli during 'critical period'
often used for parental recognition
ex. Konrad Lorenz imprinting with Greylag geese; when these
geese reached sexual maturity they tried to court humans into
mating because of who they imprinted on
Classical conditioning
mental association between unrelated phenomena
Pavlov's dog
response to a conditioned stimulus (bell) when it precedes an
unconditional stimulus (food)
Operant conditioning
link voluntary operant with favorable reinforcement
trial-and-error learning
quickly learn; both in positive and stop negative stimuli
Insight learning
uses true problem solving
uses reason
much of the scientific knowledge concerning insight derives from work
on animal behavior that was conducted on chimpanzees by the 20th-
century by German psychologist Wolfgang Kholer
used problem solving and reason; by stacking up boxes to
climb up on and than use a stick to reach over and knock the
food source down
Lack of response to unimportant stimuli
ignore small birds; react only when there is an actual potential
for danger (mice/rodents)
decrease in response to a stimulus after repeated presentations
ex. Sea hares, a new ring tone, movement of a toy
retract their gills in the face of danger
Adaptive Behavior
social or personal behavior; can be adapted into something else
European Starling put pieces of wild carrot in their nests; they have a
lot of problems with mites so when there are carrots present there are
much less mites
Song birds and their songs; learned or instinctive behavior?
some chicks heard a tape/CD an adult male sing a song; and could
almost sing it perfectly
while others didn't hear the male song; were unable to pick up the song
or sing a song remotely close to it
reject the hypothesis that sparrows had instinctive
Cuckoo Babies; instinctively know how to replicate and
exaggerate stimuli
Neurophysiology and Behavior
research in neuroscience has shown that behavioral responses whether mostly
instinctive or mostly learned depend on an
elaborate physiological foundation provided by biochemistry and structure of
Although the anatomical and physiological basis for some behaviors is present at
birth, an individuals experiences alter the cells of it's nervous system in ways that
produce particular patterns of behavior
Singing Behavior in Birds
birds learn songs early in life and produce songs later
Clusters of nerve cells called nuclei make song learning and song
production is possible
specific nerve cells are stimulated by specific cues
birds discriminate songs with species by nuclei
Development of Nuclei Regulates a Bird's song
Behavioral gene expression is due to stimuli
song nuclei in birds prepare neural development
Behavioral genes explain territorial behavior
Habituates to singing neighbor
Retains ability to hear and repel invaders
Hormones and Behavior
are chemical signals that can trigger the performance of specific behaviors
by regulating the development of neurons
by stimulating endocrine cells to release chemical signals
Juvenile hormone in bees; the levels increase as age increases while changing
task specialization of the bee
Sexual development/behavior hormonally controlled ; high level of certain
hormones in the Hypothalamus (GNRH)
Biology of Animal Behavior (Chpt. 39)
Neural Anatomy and Behavior
o specific behaviors are produced by anatomical structures in an animals nervous system
o information acquired by the senses can be related directly to motor neurons
ex. providing prey animals with behavior that can save them from attack by predators
o Hard-wired connections
ex. moving arm immediately away from a hot surface
helping animal run away from predators, search for food
Some environmental stimuli cause direct responses in motor neurons
cricket and bat interaction
neural mechanism for escape behavior
have a hard-wired mechanism to fly away from the bats; and have ears on their
front legs
different stimuli cause different responses
fiddler crab elevate eyes
divided field of view; can see predators coming from above as well as other
crabs at ground level; gulls stimulates receptors on their upper part of the eye;
activate neurons controlling escape response to dash for the borrow stimulus at
or below eye level, different response