Adopt duckling, or as animals recognize their parents?
Unlike people, animal relatives for the tenth knee to know anything. Exception – Most primates, as they write in their book "At the sources of human society", Anthropologists Marina Butovskaya and Lion Fineberg. But that is another story.
Mammals and birds for whom the occasion of the offspring is characterized, it is imperative to be able to learn exactly the parents.
So, during the absence of adults, the youngsters often hide from predators and come out only when their names are their parents. And many birds during the reproduction period form colonies, which are hundreds and thousands of couples. If they did not have the ability to recognize, different individuals could easily feed the same chicks while their own died of hunger.
And there is no nature to deceive
In the middle of the 20th century, the Austrian zoologist and Etologist Konrad Zacharia Lorenz studied this phenomenon along with his teacher Oscar Haynrotom. The phenomenon received the name "Imprint", or captured. Under this term understands a special form of figurative memory, due to which young animals are formed primary social ties. And the young learn not only the appearance of parents, but also their voice, smell.
Imprinting is timed to a certain period of life, which is also called sensitive, or sensitive. Depending on the imprinting images, this period has a different duration.
In animals that are born with the developed senses and engine authorities, it is usually short. So, the goat remembers his cub for the first hours after birth and then, if you pick it up for a while and returned again, the baby will take. And he recognizes her. Here plays the role of appearance, voice and smell. Housing, chickens, the image of the parent is also captivated for a few hours after hatching from the egg.
In animals that are not ready at birth independently move and extradite food, the sensitive period is longer. For example, at mice recognition of the mother develops within a few days.
However, not everything is so simple: studies have shown that newborn chickens already know the voice of the mother, and the mice – its smell. Moreover, Sometimes nature can be deceived.
On the example of imprinting in the chicks of gray goose Lorenz proved that representatives of other species and even inanimate objects can perform "parents". Sometimes people become "moms". In this case, it is necessary to be careful: if in the future animals it is planned to be released on the will, they should only see representatives of their kind. A good example – the cultivation of the chicks of the stroke in the state natural biosphere reserve, where people who are in contact with birds are dressed in special costumes. However, even with this handling of the young, some of the feathers still captures a person as a desirable social partner. Such a cub have to leave in the aviaries, since in the wild they will not survive.
If birds did not have the ability to recognize, different individuals could easily feed the same chicks until their own died of hunger
If the mother initially threw the baby for any reason, capturing may not happen. Cat in the first days after the birth of kittens when they recognize the smell play a big role. If you pick up a young and placing a stranger to them, and in an hour to return everyone, it will not notice addition in the family. And for the "acceptance" itself, the cat will not be a stepmother, but the most real mother. There are cases when domestic cats, not even burning, fed kittens.
In nature several times the formation of strange couples was observed: a lioness and a cub antelope. Presumably such families are formed when the lioness loses his own children. Maternal instinct turns out to be aimed at the one who caught her arm. True, the fate of such antelope is most often sad. After all, besides mom-lioness, there are other lions.
As you can see, completely cancel imprinting will not be able, but its results can be adjusted. No need to forget that over time communication with parents we are weakened and others are formed, including sex.
By the way, it is often precisely the father takes on parenting. On the best fathers in the animal world – in the article "Approxed Dock".