By Donald A. Dewsbury
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Additional info for Comparative Animal Behaviour
EVOLUTION AS HISTORY If a taxonomic system is well constructed, it should correspond with the history of evolutionary diversification through time. It is difficult to reconstruct evolutionary history because much of it occurred before humans began keeping permanent records. Zoologists have used the fossil record, comparative morphology, and zoogeographical evidence together with information from anatomy, physiology, genetics, embryology, ecology, and behavior to reconstruct plausible histories of major segments of the course of evolution.
Natural selection works through differential reproduction of genotypes. While at this point in the book we are stressing the role of genetics so as to facilitate an understanding of evolutionary processes, the role of the environment should not be underestimated. Genes and environment interact in the production of every organism, and the study of environmental factors merits, and later will receive, important emphasis. While the environment is important in the development of the individual organism, Lamarck went a step further to propose that such factors alter genetic material and that therefore acquired traits can be inherited.
Yerkes studied medusae, earthworms, dancing mice, and primates. Karl Lashley's early bibliography includes studies of paramecia, parrots, monkeys, and terns. Watson and Lashley (1915) published a study of homing in birds. Other animal psychologists studied an equally broad array of species. The shift of dominance from the broad-based animal psychology to one dominated by studies of learning in rats represents an important trend in animal psychology in this century. This trend has been illustrated with a content analysis of the species used as subjects in studies published in the Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology over this period, as can be seen in Figure 2-5.
Comparative Animal Behaviour by Donald A. Dewsbury