Behavior- midsemester exam

Behavior- midsemester exam - Tamar Paltin Animal Behavior...

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Tamar Paltin Animal Behavior Midterm Exam March 6, 2008 1. A. Dawkins used the analogy of Mount Improbable to relate to evolution as being a mountain that could only be climbed gradually, rather than scaled in leaps and bounds or reached with no intermediate steps. The peak of Mount Improbable is the seeming perfection complexity [no adaptation is perfect, and we ’ll talk about this in lecture 13] and improbability of accidental formation of living things and characteristics of living things, such as hemoglobin and the complex eye. The summit of the mountain would be the completed organism or character trait that develops, as close to perfection as possible and clearly highly intricate and evolved. Sheer luck is discounted by Dawkins as he discusses the fact that an eye would take an infinite amount of time to assemble randomly, similar to the idea that a monkey could not randomly type the works of Shakespeare as he demonstrated with two computer programs- one which was able to learn and slowly form a phrase while the other worked on sheer random luck. Rather, a ramp form of evolution is more likely the case, a cumulative additive form of change leading, step by step, to a culmination of a well designed living thing. Ramp evolution is a more plausible form of evolution in comparison to sheer luck, as sheer luck would involve climbing the sheer rock cliff of Mount Improbable where as ramp evolution is the creation of a product of evolution, such as the complex eye, through smaller steps, such as the indent which grew to an orb which grew lenses in Dawkins example, that accumulate to the finished product [for the time-being] . It is far less likely that a complete eye appeared out of random chance and luck, similarly the wing of birds and bats must have developed in smaller steps or increments. Having a complex and efficient organ or organism created in one single lucky step, such as sheer luck, is related to being equal to opening a combination lock in a bank on the first try, it is highly unlikely; whereas methodically trying all the possible combinations [of a gradualistic lock] until the locking mechanism fall into place is more efficient than simply trying numbers at random. 18/20 B. One example of a behavior that would be worthwhile even if it only increased fitness by a single percent would be that of hiding eggs, as seen in sea turtles and other non-maternal animals. By burying their eggs sea turtles lessen the chance of a predator discovering them and eating them prior to hatching. Even if this behavior only saved a small percentage of the eggs, and therefore the offspring, it would be advantageous as that would be simply that many more progenitors of the parents’ genes that would survive
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Behavior- midsemester exam - Tamar Paltin Animal Behavior...

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