Two examples of genetically based behaviors: cricket song. Different species of crickets have different calling songs with different characteristics, e. Hybrids between closely related species often exhibit songs with intermediate characteristics pulse repetition will be intermediate, inter pulse interval will be intermediate, etc. Another example on a larger phylogenetic scale is head scratching with the hind leg in amniotes reptiles, birds, mammals; those with an amniotic sac. Most reach the hind leg over the fore limb to scratch the head; that birds and mammals do it suggests that this behavior has a genetically programmed basis and has been inherited through much of higher vertebrate evolution.
Tinbergen has identified four questions to pose when analyzing a behavior 1 what is the cause, 2 what is the development ontogeny , 3 what is the current function 4 what is the phylogenetic history. Herring gulls breed is large colonies on the ground and defend territories. Two separate calls used for 1 advertising nest site "choking" call and 2 as a territorial claim the "oblique pose" and "long call".
The Kittiwake also breeds in colonies but nests on vertical cliffs and its nest pad is its territory and breeding site. This is seen as an adaptive behavioral shift wit respect to the nest location steep cliff. There are many behaviors that at first appearance do not seem "adaptive". Infanticide in lions was first viewed as "aberrant" behavior by abnormal individuals because it was not "good for the species" male lions displace other males from groups of females and their offspring, and frequently kill the cubs.
It is true that killing infants is not, in the short term, an effective means of increasing population numbers of a species. BUT, we now know post W.
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Hamilton's , papers on inclusive fitness and kin selection and G. Williams book on Adaptation and Natural Selection that the more appropriate way to address such problems is to think about them in the context of whether the behavior is good for the individual.
In analyzing infanticide from the perspective of gene thinking it is 1 not adaptive for a male lion to invest reproductive effort in an individual with whom he shares no genes and 2 once the infant is killed it is advantageous for the female to come into estrous and have more offspring with the new male this will increase her reproductive output over leaving with the displaced male, and not benefiting from other advantages of group living: foraging, avoiding predation on young. Given the situation for both male and female, the observed behaviors make sense in terms of propagating ones genes.
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The role of the gene or gene s! If we take the case of bird migration we want to know how the bird navigates to the breeding location solar and magnetic cues during flight , how the bird knows when to begin migration internal clocks and changes in day length [physiological changes]. There is usually a high cost associated with migration so we also want to know why birds do it since many die in the process more time for feeding, more available food.
Individuals that do migrate must leave more offspring than those that do not - again gene thinking helps account for why the behavior exists.
Game theory and European rail
Population genetic approaches to the evolution of traits rarely tell us why a phenotype affects fitness in a particular way; the models usually look at whether fitness increases or not. So let's think about this in terms of game theory, where life is the game. What strategies would you expect to see from the players? Well, like it Settlers of Catan, you would expect them to be concerned with the availability of their own resources.
But you would also expect them to be concerned about their social behavior since so much of their well-being and chances of mating rely on their interactions with others. And this is exactly how evolutionary game theory fits in with general game theory. Because the strategy of each individual will depend, at least in part, on the strategies exhibited by the other players. I do however want to point out a big difference between evolutionary game theory and general game theory. Because game theory generally involves intention, or cases where individuals are actively reasoning about the strategies or the behaviors of other individuals.
Evolutionary game theory is different because it is applying this theory to situtations where there might not be any overall conscious intention on the parts of the players. Another thing that I want to point out about evolutionary game theory is that it can actually help us predict the traits we would expect to see in populations.
Evolutionary game theory predicts the appearance of evolutionary stable strategies, or behaviors that tend to persist within a population once they are prevalent. So let's thinks about this in terms of a complex behavior like altruism. So imagine that we have two groups of monkeys. In one group, the monkeys act selfishly. When one sees a predator approaching, he takes the time to hide and does not warn the others, which makes it more likely that he'll escape and that the predator will eat one of the other monkeys instead. And now on the surface it seems that this is a pretty good strategy to ensure survival.
After all, you get out of it alive. However, imagine what would happen if the entire group behaved this way.
It would mean that our monkey would be more likely to die if another monkey also didn't sound the alarm. And, over time, this could decimate that monkey population and reduce the fitness of the overall group. But what if they adopted another strategy? One that involved giving an alarm call whenever a predator was spotted. The monkey that would make this call is doing this at his or her own expense, because it could draw the predator to them.
So initially you might think that this strategy would fail. But what happens when a monkey makes a call? It means that all of the other monkeys within that group survive. And of course it's possible that the monkey who makes the call survives as well. And so this actually winds up being a really successful strategy. And I want you to really think about this, because it means the altruism actually increases the success of the overall group.
So even though it might put one individual at risk, it increases the fitness of the community around it, making our monkey, or maybe the kin of original monkey, more likely to survive and reproduce. And that's why evolutionary game theory would predict the appearance of altruism within a group.