Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science

Behavior of Birds Depends On Their Hatching Order 67

Posted by samzenpus
from the eldest-bird-of-an-eldest-bird dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A new study looks at the behavior of birds and found the hatching order of birds influences how they behave in adulthood. The study was conducted by Dr. Ian Hartley and Dr. Mark Mainwaring (LEC), researchers at the University of Lancaster Environment Center. The researchers noticed that the youngest members of the zebra finch broods were more adventurous than their older siblings in later life."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Behavior of Birds Depends On Their Hatching Order

Comments Filter:
  • by Fusselwurm (1033286) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:22AM (#42241841) Homepage

    ... or is that just me and the people I know?

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:28AM (#42241899) Homepage

      That's been an open question in psychology for over a century. There's some evidence for it, and some against it, and nobody has any kind of conclusive proof one way or the other.

      • by Dr. Evil (3501) on Monday December 10, 2012 @11:19AM (#42242975)

        Months of difference make a difference in sports and the classroom. Why shouldn't years of difference make a difference among siblings?

        http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012/03/05/f-birth-month-sports-learning-health.html [www.cbc.ca]

        A 2011 study of B.C. students who entered kindergarten in 1995 found that compared to those born in January, kids with December birthdays were 12 to 15 per cent less likely to meet reading and numeracy standards in the elementary grades and 12 per cent less likely to graduate.

        In Britain, the school cutoff date is Aug. 31, which means kids learn with classmates born in September of the previous year. In a 2011 study, researchers at Britain’s Institute for Fiscal Studies reported that kids born in August have less confidence in their academic abilities and are less likely to attend top universities.

        • by cellocgw (617879)

          Months of difference make a difference in sports and the classroom. Why shouldn't years of difference make a difference among siblings?

          That's so wrong, it makes me sad. -der than a typical Monday.
          First of all, the study rather clearly is about hatchlings in a given brood, so unless your kids are triplets you can't observe the same thing.
          Next, the reasons behind the effect of birth MONTH on sports and education are pretty much self-evident: the physical and mental development of children in a given classroom or sports league is greatest in those who just miss a cutoff date. That has nothing to do with multiple birth-order.

          • by Dr. Evil (3501)

            Twins or multiple births aren't even analagous. Birds hatch independently, mammals don't birth independently.

            The topic drifted.

            • by cellocgw (617879)

              Yeah, I guess the topic was wandering. To go farther afield-- I've seen studies of dog litters which suggest the most aggressive puppies are the ones surrounded by the most mail fetuses in utero.

        • by nedlohs (1335013)

          Because being old for your grade has obvious benefits in terms of intellectual maturity for academic work and physical maturity for sports. And being young for your grade has those same obvious deficits.

          Years different wouldn't have impact at all on those and hence you wouldn't expect the same differences (assuming you aren't one of those young for their grade idiots of course).

    • Nope, not just you. The thing is, if your family and the people you know are as big as mine,
      we would be about equal in numbers to their study. I think if there's going to be anything to this, they need
      a much bigger group.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Birds are not humans. Dogs are not humans. Fish are not humans. Even monkeys are not humans. Please stop drawing parallels between humans, who exist in highly complex constantly changing societal structures and often do things for entirely non-immediately-intuitive reasons, and other types of creatures. These comparisons rarely have much grounding in reality, since intelligence is a phenomenon unto itself.

      • by invid (163714)
        Intelligence is a matter of degree. Human intelligence does not negate our evolutionary origins. Our intelligence has a common origin with other animal intelligence, and it can illuminate the nature of our intelligence to study other animals.
        • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:53AM (#42242131)

          Human intelligence does not negate our evolutionary origins.

          Oh, yes it does. We can fly higher, move faster, prolong our lives and do any number of things that our evolutionary origins would preclude. In fact we can do almost anything any animal can do, except better, and a great deal more besides, by using that intelligence. Intelligence is the ultimate evolutionary advantage, to the extent that it steps outside the commonly perceived framework of evolution and creates its own framework.

          That's not to say it's not evolution, rather that it's a different form of evolution, whereby capability is derived from generation upon generation of accumulated knowledge without changing the raw biological underpinnings much. This knowledge in turn informs behaviour, which is what we're talking about. We can learn a lot about animals by studying animals, but trying to then somehow lay this onto human behaviour patterns is an exercise in futility at best.

          Short version, instinct and intelligence are wildly different things, and humans are far more creatures of the latter than the former.

          • by Dr. Hok (702268)

            Short version, instinct and intelligence are wildly different things, and humans are far more creatures of the latter than the former.

            Sure. Except slashdotters. Missing Option: Breasts!

          • by invid (163714)
            The nature and experience of our desires came into existence through evolution. That which drives what we do with our intelligence, our desires, were created through evolution, and are still largely beyond our understanding. Once we can redesign our brains and actively do so I will say that we have moved beyond our animal selves. I will admit that we do 'hack' are brains with meditation techniques and drugs, but we don't have the level of control over that which motivates us to say that we are beyond evolut
            • You're hacking your brain whenever you learn something new - its a mistake to conflate the gross biological structure with the informational structures we have developed. Inherited biology, genetics, these have little enough to do with it. Take for example European adventurism in the 19th century - were they genetically superior to the states they subjugated? I'm sure they would have liked to believe so. The reality is that they simply had superior knowledge - in terms of technology - to their opponents, ac

              • by Jmc23 (2353706)
                Only partially correct.
              • This. People who are successful in their individual endeavors, whether it be Hollywood actors or captains of industry, tend to reflect upon their success as a product of inherently better genetics rather than happenstance and opportunity. Hell, blind belief in one's inherent ability is a prerequisite for success in many vocations. Forgive the football analogy, but ever notice what happens to a field goal kicker when he loses his happy thoughts?
          • by invid (163714)
            If you are motivated by love, or motivated by fear, or motivated by curiosity, then you are a pawn of evolution.
            • What you're saying is that anything with emotional content must be the result of nature rather than nurture? Let's talk about sexuality so, right at the coalface. What part of nature led to S&M, swingers, hotwifing, nappy fetishes, uniform fetishes, exhibitionism, dogging, or any of the rest of the wonderfully diverse panolpy of human sexuality? Or how about this, which is more interesting, having sex with biologically attractive opposites or fulfilling a secret fantasy? You can't say there isn't a prim

              • by invid (163714)
                I'm certainly not saying that all aspects of human behavior are biologically determined. We have evolved a brilliantly wonderful brain that does have the ability to transcend its evolution. People sacrifice themselves in war before they reproduce, people join organizations like the Catholic priesthood where they are not supposed to reproduce. Because of its complexity, our brains are able to bring forth far more varied experiences and behaviors that could be possible with mere instinct. However, the templat
                • However, the template upon which our behaviors rest comes from millions of years of evolution and are strongly impacted by them.

                  Millions of years of evolution are less important than thousands of years of culture and knowledge, since we have evolved to the stage where learning is far more important than instinct. Keep a person isolated from everyone in a jungle for their whole life. Put the same person's identical twin through the finest education and upbringing which can be offered by the twenty first century. The end results may as well be different species in terms of how they will respond to stimuli and challenges, I guarantee i

          • by fredrated (639554)

            Short version, instinct and intelligence are wildly different things, and humans are far more creatures of the latter than the former.

            In my experience you have the order reversed.

          • by Jmc23 (2353706)
            Social psychology disagrees with you.
          • We do things that not any one animal is better at, but there are a considerable number of things that other animals can do that I think are far more impressive.

            A cheetah, for instance, can run ~100kph and accelerate to that speed in roughly 3s. Sure, we can build cars that can do that, but they're thousands of kilograms and it takes nearly every ounce of engineering knowledge we possess to accelerate those kilograms that fast, but we do so at far lower efficiency than the cheetah. If our goal is to accelera

      • by Anonymous Coward

        These comparisons rarely have much grounding in reality, since intelligence is a phenomenon unto itself.

        There's very little difference between the intelligence level of humans vs. other mammals. It's just that a little bit makes a big difference.

        For the most part, the things you do that you think you do because you've thought it out, you do out of base instinct. The cognitive part of your brain comes up with the justification after the decision has been made.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        They might not be human, but humans and they are all still animals. Do you know where the expression "pecking order" comes from? Chickens. When chickens first meet, they quickly work out a hierarchy through fighting, aka the pecking order.

      • Unless you are seriously proposing that humans differ in kind in some profound way from everything else, it seems absurd to suggest that things can't be learned(or, at very least, used to construct good hypotheses to test against humans and narrow down the amount of human testing you need to do).

        • Take any animal behaviour and I guarantee you'll find a set of humans somewhere that behave in a somewhat similar fashion. There are after all seven billion of us, so eh causation correlation and all that. Of course humans differ profoundly, show me the animal that has set a flag on the moon.

          This is along the lines of a nature versus nurture debate which is hardly even a debate at all - using two people who are biologically almost identical, one from the early bronze age, one raised by the finest minds and

          • by Jmc23 (2353706)
            Show me the animal who is stupid enough to think they should plant a flag on the moon. It requires living in disharmony and destroying your living environment. Don't confuse human stupidity for intelligence.
            • It's funny, you can recognize this and yet here you are, planting your flag on Slashdot, on your device made of plastics and rare metals that requires digging deep into the earth to harvest, burning an unrenewable resource that destroys your environment to do it.

              • by Jmc23 (2353706)
                Always easier to change the system from within :) How else do you think you reach all the idiots who think this is living??? Certainly can't do it in person anymore, everybody is in a love affair with their little robots.

                btw, we use renewable hydro electric here... still ruins the environment though, just mainly before production :(

                Sometimes it's almost futile to fight the flow, but there's always hope, that like a montreal street crossing, you'll gather enough people going in the same direction to change

      • Are you seriously saying that animals besides humans don't "exist in highly complex constantly changing societal structures and often do things for entirely non-immediately-intuitive reasons"

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Nonsense, Humans are Animals, period. All this stuff you know how to do was taught to you. The only thing that makes us special is a highly developed language center in our Brains. And even that has to be taught how to function.

        If I had thrown you in the Jungle at age 5, and some explorers found you at age 25; you are going to act anything other than Human. There have even been real cases of such. Without being taught anything, you are nothing more than a grunting Monkey, not even being able to talk.

        • If I had thrown you in the Jungle at age 5, and some explorers found you at age 25; you are going to act anything other than Human. There have even been real cases of such. Without being taught anything, you are nothing more than a grunting Monkey, not even being able to talk.

          Exactly my point.

      • by Jmc23 (2353706)
        Nope, you're just an animal. Why do you have to bring your belief system into this?
      • Line A is not line B. They're not even the same length! And yet, they're parallel. If you know A1(x, y) A2(x, y) B1(x, y), you can determine the x for any y on line B.

        Dogs protect their offspring, humans protect their offspring for much the same reasons. You absolutely can draw parallels for a huge number of behaviors between humans and other animals. Just because exceptions exist (line B isn't as long as line A, so there is no corresponding x coordinate to y+40), doesn't mean you should discard your reason

    • perhaps the only anecdotal evidence is that in humans when the older kids are scared they make the younger ones go first.
  • Theft (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:42AM (#42242035) Homepage

    I reckon scientists would see some really interesting behaviour if they got a bunch of pigs to steal the eggs before they hatch.

    • The whole idea of birds laying eggs is to raise the next generation to take over when they die. But if the birds are immortal, and no matter how many times they smash themselves at structures and commit suicide, if they are going to come back alive, why would they lay eggs? Why would they work themselves into a frenzy? And why I am working myself into a frenzy trying to find a logical and coherent underpinnings for the stupid free game?
  • Maybe it's the opposite. Maybe it's their inherent behavioral traits which cause them to hatch first/last.
    • Quite so. It's probably best to assume (lacking any other evidence) that the researchers did their best to rule this out, but this kind of article never goes into that much depth.

      Also, is it nitpicky to point out that it's not hatching order per se, but incubation time which affects behaviour? True, hatching order is entirely dependent on incubation time (assuming they were all laid at the same time), but it's not like #1 from one brood will always be more exploratory than #2 from another brood.

    • by pclminion (145572)
      Or, maybe neither of the phenomena causes the other. Maybe the eggs which hatch last are laid last, and eggs which are laid last are not as thick as eggs laid first, due to depletion of calcium in the mother's blood from laying previous eggs, thereby affecting the rate of gas exchange during incubation, which modulates brain development, yadda yadda...
  • That's all I've got to say..

Old programmers never die, they just branch to a new address.

Working...