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Unformatted text preview: BioNB 2210: Lecture 03 Aug. 29, 2011 Lecture 03: Levels of Analysis Professor Paul Sherman Learning Objectives 1. To develop a pluralistic framework for asking and answering biological questions 2. To practice using this framework to analyze selected behaviors of animals and humans A. Two general types of questions (Mayr 1961): 1. Proximate, or immediate cause questions ("How does a behavior occur?") 2. Ultimate, or long-term cause questions ("Why does a behavior occur?") B. Within each of these general types of questions there are two "levels" of answers (levels of analysis) (Tinbergen 1963): Type of Question Level of Analysis Proximate Causation or "How?" Questions 1. Mechanisms (Physiological, Cognitive) 2. Ontogenetic Processes Ultimate Causation or "Why?" Questions 3. Effects on Fitness 4. Evolutionary Origins C. There are four general types of answers to questions of the form "What causes animal A to exhibit trait x?" 1. Mechanistic (how does it work physiologically? Cognitively?) 2. Ontogenetic (how does it develop during an individual's lifetime?) 3. Fitness effects (why is it maintained by natural selection?) 4. Origination (what were its evolutionary antecedent behaviors? When did it first appear in...
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- Fall '10