Niko Tinbergen's Four Questions Essay

Niko Tinbergen's Four Questions Essay

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Consider at least two of Tinbergen's 'four questions' in relation to filial imprinting.
Tinbergen’s ‘four questions’ refers to a publication from 1963 by Niko Tinbergen, one of the founding fathers of behavioural biology (Giraldeau, 2012). In which he outlined four questions in the study of animal behaviour, namely causation, development, function described as the survival value and evolution. Although Tinbergen’s questions were not original, as causation, function and evolution questions had already been discussed previously by biologist Julian Huxley, Tinbergen added a fourth question to the study of animal behaviour regarding development (Giraldeau, 2012).
The four questions are divided into two categories proximate or causal questions, and ultimate or functional questions, and are often referred to as the four why as opposed to questions. The questions covered different perspectives regarding animal behaviour such as Function: looking at how well an animal’s behaviour has adapted for survival, for example birds flying south for winter to ensure a viable source of food. Whilst also drawing on Darwin’s theory of evolution to describe a trait that results in reproductive success, with the understanding that survival may not just be the fittest but also the most adaptable species, and the functions that the animal takes to ensure optimum success.
The second of Tinbergen’s questions Phylogeny looks at the evolutionary explanations of development, as opposed to just how behaviour has adapted, including mutations in response to environmental changes. Some of these mutations remain in species even after necessity has gone, and can influence future characteristics of that species. The third of Tinbergen’s questions looks at Causation,...

... middle of paper ...

...’s additional question shows that the study of behaviours such as filial imprinting is not set, and that additional questions and new developments will give a batter undersatning of practices.

Bateson, P. K. N. .., 2013. Tinbergen’s four questions:an appreciation and an update. Trends in Ecology & Evolution , pp. 1-7.
Giraldeau, B. J., 2012. Mechanisms of Animal Behaviour. s.l.:sage publications.
Johan, J. B. G. .. d. V. a. J. P. K., 1990. Filial Imprinting and Associatid Learning. THE QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY, Volume 428, pp. 313-329.
Johan, J. B. R. C., 1998. Imprinting, learning and development: from behaviour to brain and back. Trends Neuroscience, Volume 306, pp. 306-311.
Town, S. M. B., 2011. Neuronal Plasticity and Multisensory Integration in Filial imprinting. PLoS ONE, VOLUME 6(ISSUE 3), pp. 1-11.

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