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← Insects are scared to death of fish

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by Schrodinger's Cat

Comment 5 by davidpercival

As the insects were not harmed themselves and didn't see any of the others harmed, they must be born with the fear of fish. It is already known that certain new born geese can identify the shadow of a predator bird from that of a harmless type.

Does this not imply that there is such a thing as "memories" which are inherited within a species by some means we are unaware of that are much more nuanced than simple instinct? It seems far fetched that there are genes that "know" the threat posed by other creatures.

Not necessarily. If recognising a particular type of shadow had survival value then what starts out as a vague response to shadows would be honed by natural selection. Those birds more able to recognise a predator shadow would be those more likely to survive and pass on their genes.

A lot of what appears as 'memory' being passed on is probably similar.

Fri, 28 Oct 2011 17:26:24 UTC | #885012