The Nurture of Nature, how to get from genes to behavior

by LisaRose 2 Replies latest jw friends

  • LisaRose

    One thing I have enjoyed since leaving the Jehovah's witnesses is learning about science and evolution. It's so great to be able to look at things without the fog of religious belief clouding things. Of course I have learned a lot from Cofty and his threads on evolution, but one thing I struggled with was what causes instinctual behavior in animals For example, what tells birds to fly south for the winter? Obviously there isn't a "fly south for the winter" gene per se, so how do birds know to do that? I think Cofty tried to explain it to me once, but I just didn't get it.

    So I came across this article from Nova which I think explains it pretty well for us non scientific types.

  • smiddy

    I see where your coming from LisaRose ,

    I often wondered how birds knew their were fish in the waters ,rivers and oceans that was food for them to eat.

    Another one was how did bears know when Salmon were even in the rivers , let alone when they were migrating upstream to breed , and was food for their taking.

    It`s easy to say they instictively knew that , but HOW ?

    Why would birds who live on the land and fly in the sky even know their was a source of food beneath the waters.

    And the same can be said of bears , why would that concept even enter their brain ?

    I shall have to look at the link you mention in more depth to see if it answers my questions.

  • cofty

    That is an excellent article LisaRose thanks for posting that.

    I think a lot of people struggle with the idea that behaviour is rooted in biology. There is a good example involving voles. In one species the males are good loyal attentive dads and in a closely related species the males are deadbeats who don't stay around after impregnating the female. Scientists identified a gene that they could manipulate to transform their behaviour.

    It makes me wonder about free-will.

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