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Chapter 51.1

Chapter 51.1 – 51.2 AND Chapter 51.5.docx

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Christoph Richter

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Chapter 511512 AND Chapter 515Most behavioural studies start by carefully observing what animals do in response to specific problems or situations As research progresses investigators use experimental approaches to probe the proximate and ultimate causes of behaviourProximatemechanistic causation explains how actions occur in terms of neurological hormonal and skeletalmuscular mechanisms involved HOWWUltimate evolutionary causation explains why actions occurbased on their evolutionary consequences and history WHYEfforts to explain behavior at the proximate and ultimate levels are complementary To understand what an organism is doing biologists want to know how the behaviour happens and whyBehaviour at understanding how individuals cope with changing physical conditions or how they interact with individuals of their own or other species how they act with environmentHighly inflexible stereotype behaviour patterns like a kangaroo rats jumpback are called fixed action patterns Fixed action patterns are examples of what biologists call innate behaviour Innate behaviour is inheritedEven though virtually all species studied to date show some degree of innate behaviour it is much more common for an individuals behaviour to1Change in response to learning 2Show flexibility in response to changing environmental conditions Organisms are not stimulusresponse machinesCanadian Research Page 1123Most animals have a range of actions that they can perform in response to a situation Animals take in info from the environment and based on that info make decisions about what to doTo link conditiondependent behaviour to fitnessand thus the ultimate level of explanation biologists use a framework called Animals appear costbenefit analysis to weigh the costs and benefits of responding to a particular situation in various waysCosts and benefits are measured in terms of their impact on fitnessthe ability to produce offspringIts important to recognize that the decisions made by nonhuman organisms are not conscious
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