Published on January 16, 2008
Behavioral Innovation: Behavioral Innovation Anna Young Definitions: Definitions Underlying processes: Underlying processes Main Components: learning, exploration, insight Neophilia Creativity Behavioral flexibility Individual vs. Social Benefits: Benefits Exploit new resources as available Adjust to changes in environment Increased efficiency Reduce time and energy Increase health and status Increase reproductive success Chimpanzee examples Medicinal plants Banging cans during threat display Innovation can be detrimental to heterospecifics: Innovation can be detrimental to heterospecifics Seals and sea lion numbers decreasing Killer whales developed foraging innovations Decimating the otter population Otter mortality in Aleutian islands up by ~10,000 /year As little as 4 male killer whales could be responsible for this change Costs of innovation: Costs of innovation Exploration doesn’t always lead to good things! Consume hazardous foods Increased risk of predation Invest time and energy Physiological cost Individuals who are innovators have higher levels of corticosterone Prisoner’s dilemma due to scroungers Constraints on Innovation: Constraints on Innovation Short Life Span Can’t invest much time Small Brain Size Prefrontal cortex linked to problem solving in humans Relative forebrain size positively correlated with feeding innovations in birds Brain Size: Brain Size Birds with relatively larger brains are better invaders, exhibit higher rate of innovation Primates show + correlation between innovation, learning, tool use, cognitive capacity, and brain size No significant correlation between group size and social learning “natural selection may have favored an increase in brain size because of benefits derived from innovation or social learning that are independent of a species’ typical group size” (Seyfarth and Cheney 2002) Examples of innovation: Examples of innovation Play Snowball rolling by macaques Tool use Chimps: Nut cracking with rocks, termite fishing with twigs Capuchins: Club to attack snake © Copyright 2003-2005 Minden Pictures Examples of innovation: Examples of innovation Does innovation only occur in ‘charismatic megafauna’ ? Examples of innovation: Examples of innovation Play Octopus exhibit exploration and play Aimed water jets through a funnel forcing the object to circle between jets and current Tool Use Crows: access food Loki: used toys to transport food, water; made headscratcher (6-16 mo. to develop) Examples of innovation: Examples of innovation Foraging Birds: 2200+ examples of feeding innovation Guppies Males who are poor competitors are more likely to exhibit foraging innovation Smaller fish > Larger fish Hungry > Satiated Past innovators > past noninnovators Examples of innovation: Examples of innovation Song types Australian songbird, Western Gerygone, created new song in 50 yrs on offshore island White-crowned sparrow song innovation occurs through recombination Swamp sparrows female choice acts against spread of innovation Examples of innovation: Examples of innovation Invasion Essential to have behavioral flexibility Relative larger brained birds have higher frequency of foraging innovations in native area and are more successful invaders Who innovates?: Who innovates? Typically, innovations are started by a single individual Proposed source: Personality Stimulus Driven State-dependent Personality: Personality Can an individual have a predisposition to innovate? Genetic background code for innovative features Creativity Intelligence Hormone levels Greylag geese: 2 weeks after hatching, subset had higher corticosterone levels. This subset exhibited foraging innovations when given novel feeding devices 6 weeks after hatching. Stimulus driven: Stimulus driven Changes in the environment Behavioral flexibility Opportunistic lifestyle Forced to adjust due to rapid changes Deforestation State-dependence: State-dependence Motivation determine innovation levels Is necessity the mother of invention? Guppy study and hunger Chimpanzees’ frequency of innovation > gorillas’ but… do you need to innovate if you live in a giant salad bowl? Can an animal be conditioned to innovative? State-dependence: State-dependence Age Innovation a by-product of cognitive development Juvenile innovate more due to their higher rate of exploration and play Older individuals innovate more due to experience and competence Captivity- can it be generalized to the wild? State-dependence: State-dependence Gender Guppies: sex difference was found in foraging innovation Females > males Regardless of hunger state Parental investment difference? Opposite in pipefish? But males tend to innovate more in geese Selection on innovation: Selection on innovation Once innovative behavior is established, social transmission could lead to culture Some behaviors passed through multiple generations, others diffuse rapidly Natural Selection Guppies Sexual Selection Swamp sparrows Is innovation a source of behavioral variation that drives evolution? Behavioral drive hypothesis: innovation + social transmission = accelerated evolution Innovation in birds predicts species richness per taxon Implications: Implications Mexican Grey Wolf Released in southeast AZ Plans to release in white sands area Eats deer, elk, beavers, hares, other small mammals Changed foraging strategies to include livestock How does the study of innovative behavior affect conservation biology? Repercussions: changes in foraging strategy to prey upon keystone species Implications: Implications Black Tailed Prairie Dogs Keystone species, facing endangered status Preyed upon by: bald eagles, swift foxes, coyotes, ferruginous hawks, burrowing owls, badgers and black-footed ferrets. Black Footed Ferret endangered Foraging innovation of Mexican Grey Wolf on B.T. Prairie Dogs could be detrimental to them and Black Footed Ferrets Implications: Implications Prior knowledge of innovative tendencies will lead to more informed decisions about reintroducing species Examine potential impact innovative changes could cause Discussion: Discussion What causes an individual to innovate? Personality/Predisposition Stimulus driven Motivation Can an animal be conditioned to innovate? Can innovation be considered a source of behavioral variation that drives evolution? Implications of innovative behavior on conservation?