Good Example Of Essay On Animal's Common Name: Dog
Analysis of a specific behavior
Genus & species: Canis and Lupus
The specific behavior (describe): Barking is a normal and natural behavior used by dogs for communication purposes.
Is this behavior shown only in certain behavioral contexts, such as in communication, getting food, competition, social behavior, attracting mates, mating behavior, parental behavior, or some other area of activity?
Barking is mostly used by dogs for communication.
Is this behavior stereotypic of the species? (I.e. typically by all similar members of the species, similar by sex or age or reproductive status.)
Barking is a behavior stereotypic of the species.
Observed in natural population_____ or in lab situation_____
1. Mechanism (Causation)
Is this a response to an external stimulus?
Is this behavior a Fixed Action Pattern?
Barking is an example of a fixed action pattern.
If so, what is the releaser (the stimulus or innate releasing mechanism)?
The stimulus is an unexpected guest or any changes in the environment.
Through what sensory system is this stimulus received?
Auditory stimuli or through hearing.
Does this response directly involve genetic/molecular mechanisms?
What is known about the genetic/molecular mechanisms of this behavior,
Is learning or imprinting involved in modulating the behavior?
Learning is involved in modulating the behavior.
2. Ontogeny (Development)
Over the course of the individual's lifespan, when is this behavior exhibited?
Dogs start barking at an early age of seven to eight weeks.
Shown by males, females, or both?
It is shown by both males and females.
Shown only in certain behavioral contexts which are age dependent? In what behavioral context?
Quiet dogs bark less but are still considered normal. Dogs bark when attention is wanted or when giving warnings to the owners.
3. Adaptation (Function)
How is this behavior adaptive? This actually is answered by asking 3 different questions (for which there may be different answers).
Dogs can have different functions like food source, guards, and as pets.
Does this behavior lead to higher reproductive fitness? Explain how
Yes because when dogs bark, they tend to drive off their predators which makes them eaten less giving them higher reproductive fitness.
Does it also lead to the individual’s longer survival? Explain how
Barking also lead to longer survival because dogs protect themselves by scaring its predators through barking.
Does it contribute to the survival of the individual’s offspring? Explain how
Dogs are known to be territorial and protective. Hence, barking can help protect its offspring for longer survival.
What aspects of the environment explain why this behavior is adaptive?
One of the aspects of the environment that explain why this behavior is adaptive is the process of natural selection and predation.
4. Phylogeny (Evolution)
What speculations can be made about the origin of this behavior evolutionarily?
When they are growing up, they become accustomed to their usual surroundings and when changes in their surrounding occur, they recognize it by barking. Also, historically, dogs bark to protect their pack and to protect their territory from predators.
In your opinion was it more likely to have been "pushed" by natural selection, sexual selection, kin selection, or genetic drift?
If the behavior is not stereotypic in the species, but does have a high genetic contribution, it may be rare because it has been selected against (gene frequency decreasing in the population) or rare because it is new and slowly becoming more common (gene frequency increasing in the population). If you think either of these conditions apply for this behavior, please explain why.
I think that gene frequency is increasing in the population because only the species of dog that can bark can survive and prevent being eaten by predators. Thus, those who have the genetic makeup which enable dogs to bark have a higher survival rate.
If possible, compare how this behavior expresses in closely related species.
In closely related species, barking exist as growling or howling which can be seen among wolves. Although they are different in the behavior, they are still similar since both species use these behaviors for communication purposes.
Is this behavior possibly due to convergent evolution in distantly related species?