Animal Behaviour essay
Paper, Order, or Assignment Requirements
Each of the statements below is a hypothesis about why individuals of a particular kind of moth pull their forewings forward when poked. For each statement, identify, whether it is a proximate hypothesis (PH) or an Ultimate hypothesis (UH). (5 MARKS)
____ A. The behavior is learned
____ B. Wing-flapping scares some predators away.
____ C. The behavior is the product of a special set of muscle contractions
____ D. The behavior is a modified version of wing movements that many moths use to raise their body temperature in order to begin flying.
____ E. The moth’s genes influence the way the adult animal’s nervous system forms connections between its muscles and its wings.
For each of the statements below, fill in group slectionist hypothesis (GS) or Darwinian natural selectionist hypothesis (NS). Lemmings leave where they are living when population densities get very high, because: (5 MARKS)
_____A. They have a better chance to reproduce elsewhere in places where the population density is lover.
_____ B. As the dispersing lemmings die off, they leave the species in the hands of the best survivors, which enables selection to work, improving the lemmings as a whole.
_____ C. High densities threaten the survival of the local population, which favours a reduction in the number of lemmings present there.
_____ D. The fighting that takes place at high densities threatens to injure the males and females of highest genetic quality which is harmful to the gene pool.
_____ E. The risk of inbreeding grows at high population densities, which favours males and females that disperse to find genetically dissimilar mates in other areas.
I say that a white-crowned sparrow sings a distinctive dialect because its genes influenced how its song system was assembled, which in turn makes dialect learning possible. You say that it sings this song because of the operation of the robust nucleus of the archistriatum, which sends signals to the birds vocal control apparatus, the syrinx.
I am wrong because learning is environmentally determined, not caused by the birds genes.
You are wrong because the birds vocal apparatus is called the larynx not the syrinx
We both could be right because out two hypotheses offer two different proximate levels of analysis of dialect singing.
We both could be right because our two hypotheses offer two complementary levels of analysis, one proximate and the other ultimate.
Someone says that if female lizards with reddish throats produce more eggs than females with organgish throats, then the reddish throat is an evolved adaptation. Is this true or false? Why? (2 MARKS)
True, because there is variation in this species, a critical requirement for the evolution of adaptations by natural selection
False, because females with orangish throats could still have more offspring that live to reproduce than reddish throat females
False, because there is no guarantee that reddish throat females are best for the long term preservation of this species.
We cannot tell because we are not told whether reddish females in the species outnumber orangish ones.
The theory of plate tectonics (which explains the current and past position of the continents in terms of the movements of huge geologic plates on earths surface) is called a theory because it: (2 MARKS)
Has been shown via repeated tests to be true.
Is an explanation that is potentially falsifiable
Is an explanation that can be applied widely, to every continent , past and present.
Is an explanation that still needs to be tested.
When someone says that there is a gene for a behavior, he or she must really mean that: (2 MARKS)
The gene is solely responsible for the development of that behavior
Individuals with different forms of that gene exhibit different behaviours
The role of the environment in affecting the development of the behavior is relatively small.
The behavior is unlikely to respond to the selection since there is no variation in the species.
The sonograms of the songs of a father zebra finch and his sons revel a close match, unless a son has been deafened early in life. Someone says that the causal question underlying this research was “Do zebra finches acquire their song by learning?” Is this correct or incorrect? Why? (2 MARKS)
Incorrect, because the work was really done to establish that the songs were instinctive
Incorrect, because this statement is really a hypothesis, not a casual question
Correct, because zebra finches do learn their songs, as clearly shown by the sonograms
Correct, because by learning their songs from their fathers, males are likely to sing a song attractive to females.
What is wrong with the following statement: “My hypotheses on why people differ in their verbal ability scores is that the greater the genetic similarity between people, the less different they should be.”? (2 MARKS)
The statement claims to be a hypothesis but it is really a prediction.
This statement doesn’t take in account the effect that some monozygotic twins have different verbal ability scores
The statement doesn’t focus enough on twins instead of people in general
The statement should read: “My hypothesis on why… is the greater the genetic differences between people, the more different they should be in their verbal abilities.”
In order for Darwinian natural selection to cause evolutionary change, a population must contain individuals that differ hereditarily in some characteristic because: (2 MARKS)
In a population without this kind of variation, the species is doomed to extinction
When all individuals have the same genes, then all individuals are exactly alike in all respects
Uniform populations are evolutionary dead ends.
Unless there is variation of this sort, parents cannot pass on their advantageous attributes to their offspring.
We observe variation in a population of lizard with respect to how fast individuals can run. We attempt to select for the ability to run slowly, not quickly. After six generations of selectively breeding only the slowest with the slowest, the mean running speed of the lizards did not change. What is the appropriate scientific conclusion based on this work? (2 MARKS)
After six generations of artificial selection, the frequency of slow runners in the population has remained unchanged.
After six generations of artificial selection the frequency of slow runners in the population has increased
The differences between the lizards in running speed in the original population were not caused by genetic differences among them
The results are invalid because the researchers failed to maintain enough variation in running speed in their selected lineage, so that evolutionary change was possible.
We observe a frog that carries its babies on its back away from the place where the eggs hatched. Here are two questions about this observation.
I wonder if the frog does this to take the babies to a new place wehre they will be safer?
Why does the frog expend time and energy moving its offspring from the place where they were “born”?
Which one of the two statements (above) is a true casual question? (2 MARKS)
(i), because this is the more specific of the two questions
(i), because we can test this idea but not the idea presented in (ii)
(ii), because this statement tells what we should expect to find in nature
(ii), because it is not a hypothesis itself but could be answered by a hypothesis.
It makes sense to separate the results of an experiment from the scientific conclusion of a research project because: (2 MARKS)
The data were collected not as an end in and of themselves but to help evaluate a hypothesis
The scientific conclusion needs to refer to what ought to have been collected in the way of data, not the actual data themselves
The dictionary defines a scientific conclusion as a proven result, and the results of an experiment are rarely completely certain
It is good to keep all the experimental items, the design of the experiment, the methods used, the expected results and the actual data collected in one single category.
Below is a graph presented in a scientific paper on flight energetics in African Great Pelicans that are gliding by themselves flapping by themselves at different heights, or travelling in a V formation. (10 MARKS)
What is the wingbeat frequency (in wingbeats per minute) of a pelican leading the V formation?
What is the most efficient and what is the least efficient method of flight for a pelican and how did you conclude this from the data?
This work is based on optimality theory if the:
Authors expected that pelicans would, when possible, fly at maximum efficiency
Fitness benefit (B) derived from flying in a V formation exceeds the cost (C) of the behavior. (Remember that an adaptation is not a trait whose B is greater than C but instead must have the best B/C ratio)
Authors had tested the prediction that other large flock-forming birds would fly in V formations under some conditions.
Authors believed that every aspect of pelican behavior was an adaption, that is an ideal solution to an environmental problem
The statement “pelicans at the front of the V are expected to be low-ranking birds unable to displace physically superior rivals from the higher energy-saving sots in the formation” is what? (a hypothesis or a prediction or a test a scientific conclusion) and why?
What does the finding that Brown Pelicans also fly in V formation suggest: convergent evolution or divergent evolution or the comparative method or the effects of shared ancestry? Explain
Lions live in prides composed of a variable number of females and males. Each pride defends its own territory (10 MARKS)
If lion social groups form because of the benefits of communal defense of a territory, what predication follows about the interactions between prides of different sizes?
What additional predictions can you make about the size of prides and the quality of the defended habitat the survival of female pride members and the fitness of females?
Would ou be surprised to learn that as pride size grows, the foraging efficiency of the group does not increase? How can you reconcile this finding with the existence of relatively large prides?
When lion prides get large, one subgroup may move away and take up residence in a nearby territory. Prides that have recently split tend to interact with little aggression; why?
There is a moth that specializes in drinking mammalian eye secretions. You wish to explore the proximate neural basis of the ability of these moths to find the creatures that will provide them with this drink. What would you look for and how would you test your hypothesis? (10 MARKS)
A bird has 2 options (i) forage for nuts that contain 25 calories each ut require 2 minutes to open, or (ii) forage for nuts that contain only15 calories but each require 1 minute to open (10 MARKS TOTAL)
Based on aptimality theory, develop a hypothesis about food selection in this bird, then produce a prediction about what should happen if individuals are given equal number of both types of nut. (4 Marks)
If you tested your hypothesis and found that you were wrong, suggest two alternate hypotheses to account for the birds behavior (6 MARKS)
Imagine that two closely related species of frog live in the same general area and the males of one species exhibit parental care but males of the other species do not. Which of the following attributes would you expect are associated with the non-paternal care species? Explain your choice(s) (10 MARKS)
The tadpoles grow extremely rapidly
The adults are relatively small
The tadpoles and adults are very poisonous
All of the above
Criticize the following statement: “inclusive fitness is a measure of an individual’s reproductive success” (4 MARKS)
In a group of meerkats, a make gives a number of alarm calls that, in total saves the life of two sisters as well as three offspring of another sibling. But by giving alarm calls, the male was exposed to risk of attack from predators and eventually he was killed by a hawk. As a result of a shortened life, he did not produce 3 surviving offspring that he otherwise would have had. (Show all you calculations): (6 MARKS)
What was the cost to the male in units of inclusive fitness for his alarm call altruism?
What was the benefit to the male in units of inclusive fitness for his alarm call altruism?
How much inclusive fitness did the male gain/loose from his altruism?
The alarm call giving behavior of the male was adaptive/adaptionist, a costly by-product of an adaption/maladaptaive? Explain
Discuss how human male sexual jealousy might have arisen through the competition for mates component of sexual selection (5 MARKS)
Provide a hypothesis for how human male sexual jealousy could have arisen through the mate choice component of sexual selection (5 MARKS)
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