Behavioural plasticity allows animals to adjust rapidly to local environmental conditions, but at the risk of erroneously changing behaviour in response to irrelevant events. Adaptive biases or predispositions constrain learning and reduce such potential costs. Preferential learning about complex biologically‐meaningful stimuli, such as predators, has been investigated in only a few systems and there have been no experimental tests for the presence of adaptive biases in a marsupial. We have previously shown that tammar wallabies (Macropus eugenii) became fearful of a model fox (Vulpes vulpes) after it was repeatedly paired with an aversive event. Tammars generalized their acquired response to a cat (Felis catus), but not to a non‐predator (juvenile goat, Capra hircus), suggesting that they might have a bias to associate predators with frightening events. The present study tested this idea directly. We used an experimental design identical to that of earlier predator‐training experiments, but substituted a model goat for the fox as the stimulus predicting a capture attempt. A control group had the same total experience of the goat and of a human with a net, but without any predictive relationship between these two events. We detected no change in behaviour towards the goat, or to any of an array of control stimuli, as a consequence of training. This finding contrasts strongly with the effects of the same pairing procedure using a fox model. Taken together, these studies provide the first evidence for an adaptive predisposition to acquire a fear of predators in marsupials. Learning processes in this group are thus evolutionarily convergent with those previously described in eutherian mammals.
Ethology – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 2002
It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.
Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.
All for just $49/month
Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly
Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.
Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.
Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.
All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.
“Hi guys, I cannot tell you how much I love this resource. Incredible. I really believe you've hit the nail on the head with this site in regards to solving the research-purchase issue.”Daniel C.
“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”@Phil_Robichaud
“I must say, @deepdyve is a fabulous solution to the independent researcher's problem of #access to #information.”@deepthiw
“My last article couldn't be possible without the platform @deepdyve that makes journal papers cheaper.”@JoseServera