LIFE: The Science of Biology Eighth Ed.
Chapter 53 Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology
In this Chapter, we will see how biologists identify the hereditary and experiment underpinnings of behaviour.
We will consider how genes and environment interact to shape the development of both the behaviour of
individuals and the long-term evolution of behaviour. We will discuss several types of animal behaviours: how
animals respond to changes in the environment, decide where to carry out their activities, select the resources
they need (food, water, shelter, nest sites), respond to predators and competitors, and associate with other
members of their own species.
53.1 What questions do biologists ask about behaviour?
Scientists, like Niko Tinbergen a founder of ethology-the study of animal behaviour from
an evolutionary perspective, who study behaviour describe what they observe and then try
to answer either proximate or ultimate questions about the behaviour.
•A young female Japanese macaque washed sandy fruit, it became a culture within
the population thereafter.
•Proximate mechanisms –neuronal, hormonal and anatomical underlyings
•Ultimate causes-selection pressures that shaped its evolution.
53.2 How do genes and environment interact to shape behaviour?
Animals perform many stereotypic and species-species behaviours without prior experience.
Experiments and distinguish between genetic and environmental influences on behaviour
•In a deprivation experiment, an animal is deprived of all experience relevant to the
behaviour under study so that is genetic component can be assessed. EX. Deprived
tree squirrel did not exhibit digging and burying behaviours until, a nut given to it
triggered the behaviours.
•In a genetic experiment, investigators are able to compare the behaviours of
individuals that differ in only one or a few known genes. REVIEW Fig 53.2. They can
alter genomes by interbreeding closely.
Inherited behaviours are often triggered by simple stimuli called releasers (an object,
event or condition required to elicit behaviour. In the deprived squirrel example, the nut
would be the releaser. Such behaviour is adaptive when opportunities to learn are lacking
and when mistakes are costly or even lethal. Spiders adapt their webs to accommodate
location, and animals find niches with specific features, although not all niches are
Imprinting is a type of learning that takes place during a critical period in an animal’s
development. Classic example is the recognition of offspring to their parents and of parents