03-17_behav - BIOLOGY 325H Animal Behavior March 17, 2008...

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BIOLOGY 325H Animal Behavior March 17, 2008 Animal behavior is a collection of species-specific adaptations with respect to how the individual interacts with its environment. Acquisition of food and avoidance of predators augments the individual's chance of survival, and successful mating behavior increases the likelihood that it will pass along its genetic alleles. Species-specific mating behaviors also provide a barrier against interspecific hybridizations that would be extremely unlikely to yield viable offspring. In addition, many animal species exhibit parental behavior following the birth of their offspring, thereby facilitating the survival of those offspring and furthering the transmission of its own genetic alleles to future generations. We envision that the vast majority of behaviors evolved because they had an adaptive value for the species in question. However, not all behaviors are adaptive. Some behaviors - e.g. the raising of body hair in humans in response to cold - have persisted long after their original adaptive value was lost due to later events in the evolutionary history of that species (in this example, the thinning of human body hair to a point at which it no longer traps an insulating layer of air). Learning goals 1. What is the distinction between 'proximate' and 'ultimate' causes, and how do these two concepts relate to animal behavior? 2. What is the difference between an inherited behavior and a learned behavior? How can learning increase the fitness of an individual? What are some reasons why an inherited behavior might be more adaptive than a learned behavior? 3. What different kinds of experiments have been used to show that genes influence behavior? 4. What are the three general kinds of benefit that can derive from a particular behavior? What are the three general kinds of cost that can derive from a particular behavior? Under what conditions will natural selection favor a given behavior? 5. The male Yarrow's spiny lizard becomes highly territorial during its mating season. What are the costs and benefits of this increased territoriality? How did scientists test those costs and benefits experimentally? Using cost/benefit analysis, explain why the lizard isn’t territorial during other seasons of the year. 6. What are the three subdivisions of function within the nervous system?
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course BIO 325H taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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03-17_behav - BIOLOGY 325H Animal Behavior March 17, 2008...

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