Behaviour and Evolution


Learned Behaviour

  • Animals can learn from previous experiences and therefore adapt and respond to changing conditions.
    • e.g. avoiding predators and harmful foods.
    • finding suitable foods.
    • finding a suitable mate.
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  • After repeated responses to a non-beneficial or non-harmful stimuli an animal will learn not to respond to it.
  • They can therefore spend their time and energy more efficiently.
    • e.g. young can focus on learning rather than being frightened by loud noises.
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Innate Behaviour

  • An inherited, immediate response (reflex action) to a stimulus.
  • The response is automatic and reinforced by repetition.
    • e.g. sneezing
    • phototaxis in earthworms
    • sea anemones waving their tentacles in response to a prey's chemicals.
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Classical Conditioning

  • A process in which learning causes a reflex action to happen in response to a different stimulus.
    • e.g. Pavlov's dogs learn to salivate after the ringing of a bell.
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Operant Conditioning

  • A process in which an animal changes its behaviour as a result of experiencing rewards or unpleasant consequences.
    • 'trial and error'
    • e.g. Skinner's Box
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Choice Chamber

  • A device that offers small invertebrates two or more contrasting environments.
  • The different conditions provide a stimulus to which the invertebrates respond.
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  • Studied innate behaviour in Herring Gulls.
    • Chicks know how to peck a red spot on their mother's beak to get food.
    • Tinbergen gave new born chicks a piece of cardboard with coloured spots.
    • He found that they instinctively pecked the red one the most.
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  • Studied imprinting in Geese.
    • Group 1 hatched by mother and imprinted on her.
    • Group 2 hatched with incubator and imprinted on Lorenz.
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  • Ardipithecus ramidus.
  • 4.4 million years ago.
  • Mixture of human and ape features.
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  • Australopithecus afarensis.
  • 3.2 million years ago.
  • More humanlike than Ardi.
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Turkana Boy

  • Homo erectus. 
  • 1.6 million years ago
  • More humanlike that Lucy.
  • Discovered by Leakey in 1984.
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Mitochondrial DNA

  • Mitochondria contains small piece of DNA inherited from the mother.
  • Has a high mutation rate.
  • The more different two samples are, the further back that they share a common ancestor.
  • Everyone can be traced back to Mitochondrial Eve.
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Dian Fossey and Jane Goodall

Studied social behaviour in apes.

  • Fossey discovered that gorillas had complex family relationships.
  • Goodall recorded chimpanzee behaviour and found that they make and use tools to help them obtain food.

Their studies proved that apes:

  • Work together to find food.
  • Protect each other.
  • Have social ranks to prevent fights.
  • Groom each other to form special bonds.
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These cards are a useful summary of key facts in the Edexcel B3 topic 2 covering 

 different types of behaviour, such as courtship,conditioning and methods of communication.  Summarising the key terms in a mind map would be a useful revision tool.

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