Animal Behavior: Learning Neural Control of Filial Imprinting Johnson and Bolhuis identified two independent neural systems that control filial imprinting in precocial birds. Newly hatched chicks will follow almost anything that has eyes and moves. After the chick follows something, another part of the brain, analogous to the frontal cortex, recognizes and imprints on the individual being followed. These mechanisms are independent. There is an instinct for chicks to follow, and then they learn what they are following. It might seem odd that being able to identify and follow a mother does not have a genetic mechanism. Yet with a neural rather than genetic mechanism, the chick gains flexibility that might help in survival. If a chick's mother dies, the chick can then be adopted by another family member or conspecific. If the chick's recognition of its mother were genetic, the chick would not follow its adoptive parent, and would die. Further, detailing the recognition of a specific individual is far too complicated to achieve genetically. An individual may be able to tell what
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