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AP Biology
Ch. 51 Learning Team Discussion Questions
1. What is behavior? How do the terms proximate and ultimate question help
scientists to answer questions?
2. Is behavior caused by genes, environment, or a combination of the two? Explain.
Discuss specific case studies that show the connection between nurture and
3. What is innate behavior and how did it evolve?
4. What is a fixed action pattern (FAP)? Describe Tinbergen’s experiments on the
digger wasp nest-locating behavior. What is the sign stimulus in this experiment?
5. What is the connection between behavioral ecology and evolution? How is
behavioral ecology used to study why natural selection has favored multisong
behavior over the expert vocalization of a single tune in songbirds?
6. Can the behavior of songbirds be explained if evolutionary principles are absent
from the research? Explain.
7. What is optimal foraging theory? Discuss the research done on feeding behavior
in crows on Mandarte Island and bluegill sunfish.
8. Energy costs and benefits are one factor affecting foraging behavior. How does
the example of the smallmouth bass support this statement? What other factors
are affecting foraging behavior?
9. What is leaning? Explain how learning is involved in the survival of vervet
10. Discuss the difference between learning and maturation. Give examples to
support your answer.
11. What is habituation and how does it contribute to the fitness of an organism in its
environment? Give an example.
12. What is imprinting? Describe the experiments of Konrad Lorenz on imprinting in
graylag geese. What role does the sensitive period have on an individual’s
13. How does bird song provide a model system for understanding the development
of behavior? Contrast learning in the sensitive period (as found in white-crowned
sparrows) with opened-ended learning (as found in canaries). Describe the
experiments used to discover these two types of development.
14. What is associative learning? Distinguish between classic conditioning and
operant conditioning. Discuss the work of Ivan Pavlov and B.F. Skinner.
15. Why is play important in the development of animal behavior?
16. Study the definition and context for each term as it relates to behavioral biology:
Cognition, cognitive ethology, kinesis, taxis, landmark, cognitive map, migration,
social behavior, sociobiology, agonistic behavior, ritual, reconciliation behavior,
dominance hierarchy, territory, courtship, parental investment, promiscuous,
monogamous, polygamous, polygyny, polyandry, signal, communication,
pheromones, altruism, inclusive fitness, coefficient of relatedness, Hamilton’s rule,
kin selectio