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Cognitive Ecology II$
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Reuven Dukas and John M. Ratcliffe

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226169354

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226169378.001.0001

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Learning: Mechanisms, Ecology, and Evolution

Learning: Mechanisms, Ecology, and Evolution

(p.7) 2 Learning: Mechanisms, Ecology, and Evolution
Cognitive Ecology II
Reuven Dukas
University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses the ecological and evolutionary significance of acquisition and retention. The mechanistic research on animal learning and memory is typically conducted under the necessary controlled laboratory conditions using a few animal species whose ecology and behavior in the wild are not well known. The author finds that the increased understanding of the neurogenetic mechanisms underlying learning and memory has led to the realization that there is great similarity in these mechanisms across all animals. Though learning is a key factor in the life history of most animals, it has not been well integrated into the life history literature, which has focused on physical traits such as growth, effort, and senescence. Also, recent work on mechanisms of speciation has made it clear that learning can play an important role in population divergence.

Keywords:   acquisition, retention, learning, memory, ecology, behavior, speciation

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