Animal Courtship and Copycat Behaviour
Associate Professor and Head of Zoology at Trinity, Nicola Marples explains how biologists from Trinity College Dublin have shown that individuals with very different, ingrained approaches to trying new foods are influenced by the presence and actions of rivals eating those same new foods.
Through a combination of genetic hard-wiring and environmental influences, animals in a given population conform to one of two foraging strategies. However, it seems with chicks – as sometimes with young children – that imitation goes hand in hand with development.
Nicola also discusses animal courtship which can be wild, wacky and even romantic. Animals will dance, strut and sometimes even fight for their true love. They will sing, bellow and offer things to eat. They change colors, leave scented notes and build homes to attract and win over a suitable partner.
In the animal world, it is usually the boys that are trying to impress the girls and courtship isn't limited to one particular species. Mammals have many diverse and often affectionate ways of courting their prospective mates, but it's birds, reptiles and even insects that have some very unusual ways of wooing their mates.