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Rebelliousness to produce diversity?

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Rebelliousness to produce diversity?

Postby biotheory » Thu Apr 07, 2011 8:10 pm

Hello guys :). I'm new to this forum, and am currently taking Bio 100 as a class at my college. As I was walking back from Bio class this morning, I had the thought that being rebellious could be an evolutionary advantage to attempt to produce more diversity in species. For example, mutations in offspring happen at random to produce alternate things and ways that behaviors or traits can be manifested. I want to know your opinions' on whether you think that being rebellious adds more variability to a species and how it would best survive. For example, if a particular individual's parents or relatives have found that it is best to survive in an environment a certain way, but that individual feels that it is natural to rebel against those ways and form his own opposite or different beliefs on how he can survive in an environment - is there an evolutionary basis or advantage for this to happen? Much like mutations happen to possibly benefit the organism in his particular circumstances?

Let me know your thoughts on this, it has sparked my interest!
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Postby JackBean » Fri Apr 08, 2011 4:52 am

do you think, that e.g. young sheeps are rebelious by eating stones instead of grass?
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Re:

Postby biotheory » Fri Apr 08, 2011 3:08 pm

JackBean wrote:do you think, that e.g. young sheeps are rebelious by eating stones instead of grass?


Lol, funny. I'm talking about way back when. If you believe in evolution, then I'm talking about when we were all in creatures living in the water and one of them basically rebelled and went on the land.
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Postby canalon » Fri Apr 08, 2011 4:08 pm

The point is that it is way more complicated than that.
The evolution of behavioural traits that are hard to define, notably in term of limits (when is one rebelious or conformist, or in between?), is something that is often tackled, but usually not very well in my opinion. Mostly because it is hard to define what is observed, how to measure it, and how to define the outcome. And remember that a trait that can be advangeous in some circumstances can be highly detrimental in other.

As for your example, I doubt tha fishe rebeled against water, they probably just evolved from fish trapped in ponds that lost water on a regular basis.
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Postby JackBean » Sat Apr 09, 2011 8:12 am

biotheory: why do you think, that fish could be rebellious to get out of the water, but the sheep couldn't be rebellious to start feeding on something new? Just because you didn't observe that yet?

Anyway, my point is, do you think, that other organisms than human can be rebellious?
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Postby Darby » Sat Apr 09, 2011 12:41 pm

Don't forget that evolution works on populations, not individuals - one fish is not evolution. Rebelling also seems to be a complex cognitive behavior, the way you describe it, so it wouldn't even appear in a lot of populations.

Rebelliousness does seem to be a selected trait in some animals, though, if you describe the drive to separate from parents and become independent "rebelliousness."
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Postby JackBean » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:38 am

Darby: do you mean e.g. when offspring leaves parent's group and goes elsewhere to another group?
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Postby Darby » Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:58 pm

Or when the offspring strike out on their own. For species with parental - offspring connections beyond just production (say, feeding and/or protection), most offspring need to shift from a connection to a break, and that behavior is often built in with a sort of timer. That is probably the underlying "push" in adolescent people as well, but there it often means setting up a separate household in the same group. But people have a weird colonial organization and don't compare well to most other animals...
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Re:

Postby biotheory » Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:52 pm

Thanks for the feedback everyone:

Darby wrote:Don't forget that evolution works on populations, not individuals - one fish is not evolution. Rebelling also seems to be a complex cognitive behavior, the way you describe it, so it wouldn't even appear in a lot of populations.

Rebelliousness does seem to be a selected trait in some animals, though, if you describe the drive to separate from parents and become independent "rebelliousness."


My main point, I guess, wasn't that rebelliousness produces evolution necessarily, but that it gives an animal more options survive in different ways. Maybe a sheep would try and munch on a rock, but it would realize that the rock isn't something it wants to eat again because it hurts its teeth and doesn't taste good :)

Darby wrote:Don't forget that evolution works on populations, not individuals - one fish is not evolution. Rebelling also seems to be a complex cognitive behavior, the way you describe it, so it wouldn't even appear in a lot of populations.

Rebelliousness does seem to be a selected trait in some animals, though, if you describe the drive to separate from parents and become independent "rebelliousness."


You're right about that. Rebelliousness most likely would only occur in more cognitively-oriented mammals, and in animals where the parents teach the offspring - so that any newly discovered survival techniques can be passed on to them.
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