Troubleshooting budgies make Partners more attractive



[ad_1]

<div _ngcontent-c14 = "" innerhtml = "

Direct observation of problem-solving skills in male parakeets increases their attractiveness to females and this preference for partners may contribute to the evolution of the improved cognitive abilities underlying such abilities.

Australian parakeet of the adult type, Melopsittacus undulatus, photographed in the wild near Cameron's Corner, Queensland. This species is commonly known as "parakeet" or "parakeet" – incorrectly, because there are many species of parakeets – in the American pet trade.
(Credit: Benjamint444 / GFDL 1.2)Benjamint444 through a Creative Commons license

Recently, I shared a study that discovered hundreds of genes, many new to scientists, that appear to be involved in aging and cognition in parrots (more here). Although this research did not address as improved cognitive abilities have actually evolved into parrots, most scientists believe that females can be the driving force behind improved intelligence (ref), as well as a variety of other features. Basically, partner choice can push the evolution of cognitive skills by women preferentially choosing partners who are more "smart".

But how to test this idea? Today, an elegant study was published in Science by an international collaboration of scientists from China and the Netherlands, demonstrating that female parakeets that have chosen a particular male will change their minds after observing their least favorite male, successfully solving a puzzle toy. This study also found that these preferences of females were not affected by food in control experiments where they were allowed to observe males with free access to food nor were affected by social preferences after observing demonstrative females who were able to solve the same toy puzzle. . This instigating study suggests that direct observation of problem-solving skills increases male attractiveness and may contribute to the evolution of the cognitive abilities underlying those abilities.

How did the researchers see this?

Researchers led by Jiani Chen at the Main Laboratory of Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences designed a simple but elegant series of experiments where they provided the test females with a choice between two males that they preferred, She then showed that the test females changed the male she preferred after observing their less preferred male, demonstrating superior problem-solving skills.

Thirty-four males (17 pairs) and 17 females participated in the first experiment. Parrots were divided into a problem-solving group (18 males and 9 females) and one control group (16 males and 8 females). Females from both groups first received a series of preference tests, where each test female could choose between two male parakeets placed in a two-choice cage. Each woman's preferred partner was identified as the man with whom she spent most of the time near (Figure 2A).

Fig. 2. Time spent by focal females near preferred and less preferred subjects (mean & SEM; SEM). The time spent near (AN) males (experiment 1) and (B) females (experiment 2). The observation of less preferred male protesters opening problem boxes resulted in a significant change in preference for these males. No significant difference of preference was found in the control group or the female-female group. P, preferred; LP, less preferred.
(It hurts:10.1126 / science.aau8181)doi: 10.1126 / science.aau8181

Did the presence of food affect the preferences of the tested females? To test whether a male who was eating was preferable to one who was not, each test female parakeet was again allowed to observe both males – but only their less preferred male enjoyed free access to the food provided in their food container normal, while she preferred man had none. Despite this, test females still spent more time perching near their preferred male (Figure 2A).

Here's the sneaky part of this study. Each less preferred male of the female was then trained (out of view of the test female) to open two different puzzle toys containing food. One puzzle toy was a Petri dish and the other was a three-stage box (Figure 1A). Preferred males did not receive such training.

Each female test was once again allowed to observe and choose from its less preferred male, who was now a skilled problem solver who was able to open two puzzle boxes to obtain food (Figure 1B), and his preferred male, who was unable to open these boxes (Figure 1C).

Fig. 1. Design of the observation phase. (AN) Troubleshooting devices: the Petri dish and the three-step box. (B) A focal female observing a trained male opening the Petri dish. (W) A focal female watching an untrained male trying unsuccessfully to open the plate.
(It hurts:10.1126 / science.aau8181)doi: 10.1126 / science.aau8181

After watching her less preferred (but now solving problems) of male food while her preferred male could not, most of the test women changed their minds and spent more time perching near the male problem solver (Figure 2A).

To test whether the preference of the test female by problem solvers reflected a growing social preference, rather than a sexual preference, of staying with smart people in problem solving, a second experiment was performed. This experiment was identical to the first, except that the test females were exposed to two females – a skilled problem solver and the other not – instead of two males, and the preference of the test female for any type of female was evaluated (Figure 2B). In this situation, almost none of the test women changed their minds about who they would like to socialize with.

Why do female parakeets prefer smart males?

"Very interesting study," said Alex Kacelnik, a professor of behavioral ecology at University of Oxford, who was not involved in the study.

"As the authors say, the link between sexual selection and cognitive evolution is a well-established hypothesis (eg, goldfinch males with more prominent sexually selected characters are better at classifying new foraging tasks.[[[[ref]), "Professor Kacelnik pointed out by e-mail. "[B]But here they show that females raise preferences for males that show a good foraging performance, but not for females doing the same. "

But this study raises some interesting points. First, females did not actively observe problem-solving males learning how to solve the puzzle toys to get food: they only saw problem solvers running with competence.

"It would be interesting to test whether women are sensitive to the ability to discover new solutions, namely, the transition from incompetent to competent," Professor Kacelnik said by e-mail.

At present, scientists do not know whether men can be classified in terms of their overall problem-solving abilities, so researchers can not determine whether problem-solving males are generally smarter. In addition, there are different types of smartness.

"Some males may be better at tasks that require haptic exploration [active exploration of the puzzle toys] and others [may excel] in tasks that require visual discrimination, "Professor Kacelnik wrote by e-mail." Some may be good at controlling impulsivity and others at quickly discovering new solutions. "

"The theoretical implications of this study are rich and worth being addressed in depth."

But why would a woman favor a smart male, even if it was not originally her favorite choice? Two predominant scientific explanations may be operating here.

"Females may prefer competent males because they provide direct benefits (that is, better males increase the female's access to food) or because they have inherited traits that are passed on to the offspring," Professor Kacelnik replied by e-mail.

"The first alternative does not require males to be genetically better: any developmental factor that would make them good today will be female," Professor Kacelnik said in an e-mail. "But if males do not differ genetically, female selectivity will not boost cognitive evolution."

The second alternative, known as the good genes hypothesis, suggests that the traits that females choose when selecting a partner are honest indicators of the male's ability to transmit genes that increase the survival or reproductive success of his offspring. But this explanation reveals a dilemma in sexual selection, known as the leks paradox. In a lek mating system, almost all females of the population choose to mate with the same males, which could be a problem, especially over thousands of generations: despite the strong female choice for certain traits, how males maintain their genetic variation?

"If the genetic variance is evolutionarily stable, the cognitive benefit must be offset by some other cost, making smart males unworthy because in the end they have the same fitness as the thickness. [stupid] those who avoid paying the cost of being smart, "Professor Kacelnik explained by e-mail. "If intelligence variance is not stable, and smart males are better at getting food and getting partners, then we should be observing an evolutionarily ephemeral phase, soon leading everyone to be smart, with no differences between men [in cognitive abilities] and no benefit of selectivity for females. "

Source:

Jiani Chen, Yuqi Zou, Yue-Hua Sun and Carel ten Cate (2019). Trouble-solving males become more attractive to female parakeets, Science, published online January 10, 2019 before printing | It hurts:10.1126 / science.aau8181

Read more about the science of parrot intelligence at Forbes:

GrrlScientist. "Genome parrots provide insights into the evolution of longevity and cognition," ForbesDecember 21, 2018.Link.)

GrrlScientist. "Walnut test" reveals parrots are insightful investors, " ForbesAugust 27, 2018. (Link.)

GrrlScientist. "Smarter birds live on the islands" ForbesJuly 31, 2018. (Link.)

GrrlScientist. "What makes parrots so smart?" ForbesJuly 12, 2018.Link.)

GrrlScientist. "Cockatoos are as cunning as the crows," ForbesSeptember 13, 2017. (Link.)

GrrlScientist. "Cockatoos can make better economic decisions than you," Forbes, July 12, 2016. (Link.)

GrrlScientist. "Can an old parrot learn new tricks?", ForbesJanuary 2, 2016. (Link.)

Budgies for problem solving make companions more attractive | @GrrlScientist

">

Direct observation of problem-solving skills in male parakeets increases their attractiveness to females and this preference for partners may contribute to the evolution of the improved cognitive abilities underlying such abilities.

Australian parakeet of the adult type, Melopsittacus undulatus, photographed in the wild near Cameron's Corner, Queensland. This species is commonly known as "parakeet" or "parakeet" – incorrectly, because there are many species of parakeets – in the American pet trade.
(Credit: Benjamint444 / GFDL 1.2)Benjamint444 through a Creative Commons license

I recently shared a study that discovered hundreds of genes, many new to scientists, that appear to be involved in aging and cognition in parrots (more here). Although this research did not address as Improved cognitive abilities have actually evolved into parrots, most scientists believe that females may be the driving force behind improved intelligence (ref) as well as a variety of other traits. Basically, partner choice can push the evolution of cognitive skills by women preferentially choosing partners who are more "smart".

But how to test this idea? Today, an elegant study was published in Science by an international collaboration of scientists from China and the Netherlands, demonstrating that female parakeets that have chosen a particular male will change their minds after observing their least favorite male, successfully solving a puzzle toy. This study also found that these preferences of females were not affected by food in control experiments where they were allowed to observe males with free access to food nor were affected by social preferences after observing demonstrative females who were able to solve the same toy puzzle. . This instigating study suggests that direct observation of problem-solving skills increases male attractiveness and may contribute to the evolution of the cognitive abilities underlying those abilities.

How did the researchers find this out?

Researchers led by Jiani Chen at the Main Laboratory of Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences designed a simple but elegant series of experiments where they provided the test females with a choice between two males that they preferred, She then showed that the test females changed the male she preferred after observing their less preferred male, demonstrating superior problem-solving skills.

Thirty-four males (17 pairs) and 17 females participated in the first experiment. Parrots were divided into a problem-solving group (18 males and 9 females) and one control group (16 males and 8 females). Females from both groups first received a series of preference tests, where each test female could choose between two male parakeets placed in a two-choice cage. Each woman's preferred partner was identified as the man with whom she spent most of the time near (Figure 2A).

Fig. 2. Time spent by focal females near preferred and less preferred subjects (mean ± SEM). The time spent near (AN) males (experiment 1) and (B) females (experiment 2). The observation of less preferred male protesters opening problem boxes resulted in a significant change in preference for these males. No significant difference of preference was found in the control group or the female-female group. P, preferred; LP, less preferred.
(doi: 10.1126 / science.aau8181)doi: 10.1126 / science.aau8181

Did the presence of food affect the preferences of the tested females? To test whether a male who was eating was preferable to one who was not, each test female parakeet was again allowed to observe both males – but only their less preferred male enjoyed free access to the food provided in their food container normal, while she preferred man had none. Despite this, test females still spent more time perching near their preferred male (Figure 2A).

Here's the sneaky part of this study. Each less preferred male of the female was then trained (out of view of the test female) to open two different puzzle toys containing food. One puzzle toy was a Petri dish and the other was a three-stage box (Figure 1A). Preferred males did not receive such training.

Each female test was once again allowed to observe and choose from its less preferred male, who was now a skilled problem solver who was able to open two puzzle boxes to obtain food (Figure 1B), and his preferred male, who was unable to open these boxes (Figure 1C).

Fig. 1. Design of the observation phase. (AN) Troubleshooting devices: the Petri dish and the three-step box. (B) A focal female observing a trained male opening the Petri dish. (W) A focal female watching an untrained male trying unsuccessfully to open the plate.
(doi: 10.1126 / science.aau8181)doi: 10.1126 / science.aau8181

After watching her less preferred (but now solving problems) of male food while her preferred male could not, most of the test women changed their minds and spent more time perching near the male problem solver (Figure 2A).

To test whether the preference of the test female by problem solvers reflected a growing social preference, rather than a sexual preference, of staying with smart people in problem solving, a second experiment was performed. This experiment was identical to the first, except that the test females were exposed to two females – a skilled problem solver and the other not – instead of two males, and the preference of the test female for any type of female was evaluated (Figure 2B). In this situation, almost none of the test women changed their minds about who they would like to socialize with.

Why do female parakeets prefer smart males?

"Very interesting study," said Alex Kacelnik, a professor of behavioral ecology at Oxford University, who was not involved in the study.

"As the authors say, the link between sexual selection and cognitive evolution is a well-established hypothesis (eg, goldfinch males with more prominent sexually selected characters are better at classifying new foraging tasks. [ref]), "Professor Kacelnik pointed out by e-mail. "[B]But here they show that females raise preferences for males that show a good foraging performance, but not for females doing the same. "

But this study raises some interesting points. First, females did not actively observe problem-solving males learning how to solve the puzzle toys to get food: they only saw problem solvers running with competence.

"It would be interesting to test whether women are sensitive to the ability to discover new solutions, namely, the transition from incompetent to competent," Professor Kacelnik said by e-mail.

At present, scientists do not know whether men can be classified in terms of their overall problem-solving abilities, so researchers can not determine whether problem-solving males are generally smarter. In addition, there are different types of smartness.

"Some males may be better at tasks that require haptic exploration [active exploration of the puzzle toys] and others [may excel] in tasks that require visual discrimination, "Professor Kacelnik wrote by e-mail." Some may be good at controlling impulsivity and others at quickly discovering new solutions. "

"The theoretical implications of this study are rich and worth being addressed in depth."

But why would a woman favor a smart male, even if it was not originally her favorite choice? Two predominant scientific explanations may be operating here.

"Females may prefer competent males because they provide direct benefits (that is, better males increase the female's access to food) or because they have inherited traits that are passed on to the offspring," Professor Kacelnik replied by e-mail.

"The first alternative does not require males to be genetically better: any developmental factor that would make them good today will be female," Professor Kacelnik said in an e-mail. "But if males do not differ genetically, female selectivity will not boost cognitive evolution."

The second alternative, known as the good genes hypothesis, suggests that the traits that females choose when selecting a partner are honest indicators of the male's ability to transmit genes that increase the survival or reproductive success of his offspring. But this explanation reveals a dilemma in sexual selection, known as the leks paradox. In a lek mating system, almost all females of the population choose to mate with the same males, which could be a problem, especially over thousands of generations: despite the strong female choice for certain traits, how males maintain their genetic variation?

"If the genetic variance is evolutionarily stable, the cognitive benefit must be offset by some other cost, making smart males unworthy because in the end they have the same fitness as the thickness. [stupid] those who avoid paying the cost of being smart, "Professor Kacelnik explained by e-mail. "If intelligence variance is not stable, and smart males are better at getting food and getting partners, then we should be observing an evolutionarily ephemeral phase, soon leading everyone to be smart, with no differences between men [in cognitive abilities] and no benefit of selectivity for females. "

Source:

Jiani Chen, Yuqi Zou, Yue-Hua Sun and Carel ten Cate (2019). Trouble-solving males become more attractive to female parakeets, Science, published online January 10, 2019 before printing | doi: 10.1126 / science.aau8181

Read more about the science of parrot intelligence at Forbes:

GrrlScientist. "Genome parrots provide insights into the evolution of longevity and cognition," ForbesDecember 21, 2018. (Link.)

GrrlScientist. "Walnut test" reveals parrots are insightful investors, " ForbesAugust 27, 2018. (Link.)

GrrlScientist. "Smarter birds live on the islands" ForbesJuly 31, 2018. (Link.)

GrrlScientist. "What makes parrots so smart?" ForbesJuly 12, 2018. (Link.)

GrrlScientist. "Cockatoos are as cunning as the crows," ForbesSeptember 13, 2017. (Link.)

GrrlScientist. "Cockatoos can make better economic decisions than you do," ForbesJuly 12, 2016. (Link.)

GrrlScientist. "Can an old parrot learn new tricks?", ForbesJanuary 2, 2016. (Link.)

Budgies for problem solving make companions more attractive | @GrrlScientist

[ad_2]

Source link