Fixed action patterns and animal communication

Fixed action patterns and animal communication - Fixed...

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Fixed action patterns and animal communication An important development, associated with the name of Konrad Lorenz though probably due more to his teacher, Oskar Heinroth , was the identification of fixed action patterns (FAPs). Lorenz popularized FAPs as instinctive responses that would occur reliably in the presence of identifiable stimuli (called sign stimuli or releasing stimuli ). These FAPs could then be compared across species, and the similarities and differences between behaviour could be easily compared with the similarities and differences in morphology . An important and much quoted study of the Anatidae (ducks and geese) by Heinroth used this technique. Ethologists noted that the stimuli that released FAPs were commonly features of the appearance or behaviour of other members of the animal's own species, and they were able to prove how important forms of animal communication could be mediated by a few simple FAPs. The most sophisticated investigation of this kind was the study by Karl von Frisch of the so-called "dance language"
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related to bee communication . [6] Lorenz developed an interesting theory of the evolution of animal communication based on his observations of the nature of fixed action patterns and the circumstances in which animals emit them. [ edit ] Instinct Kelp Gull chicks peck at red spot on mother's beak to stimulate regurgitating reflex. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines instinct as a largely inheritable and unalterable tendency of an organism to make a complex and specific response to environmental stimuli without involving reason. [7] For ethologists, instinct means a series of predictable behaviors for fixed action patterns . Such schemes are only acted when a precise stimulating signal is present. When such signals act as communication among members of the same species, they are known as releasers . A notable example of a releaser is
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the beak movements in many bird species performed by the newborns, which stimulates the mother's regurgitating process to feed her offspring. [8] Another well-known case is the classic experiments by Tinbergen on the Graylag Goose . Like similar waterfowl , the goose rolls a displaced egg near its nest back to the others with its beak. The sight of the displaced egg triggers this mechanism. If the egg is taken away, the animal continues with the behaviour, pulling its head back as if an imaginary egg is still being maneuvered by the underside of its beak. [9]
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This note was uploaded on 03/26/2012 for the course SCIENCE 103 taught by Professor Na during the Spring '12 term at American International.

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Fixed action patterns and animal communication - Fixed...

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