Animal Behaviour

Tue 21 Jan 2014


Some animal behaviorists argue that certain animals can remember past events, anticipate future ones, make plans and choices, and coordinate activities within a group. These scientists, however, are cautious about the extent to which animals can be credited with conscious processing.

Explanations of animal behavior that leave out any sort of consciousness at all and ascribe actions entirely to instinct leave many questions unanswered. One example of such unexplained behavior: Honeybees communicate the sources of nectar to one another by doing a dance in a figure-eight pattern. The orientation of the dance conveys the position of the food relative to the sun's position in the sky, and the speed of the dance tells how far the food source is from the hive. Most researchers assume that the ability to perform and encode the dance is innate and shows no special intelligence. But in one study, when experimenters kept changing the site of the food source, each time moving the food 25 percent farther from the previous site, foraging honeybees began to anticipate where the food source would appear next. When the researchers arrived at the new location, they would find the bees circling the spot, waiting for their food. No one has yet explained how bees, whose brains weigh four ten-thousandths of an ounce, could have inferred the location of the new site.

Other behaviors that may indicate some cognition include tool use. Many animals, like the otter who uses a stone to crack mussel shells, are capable of using objects in the natural environment as rudimentary tools. One researcher has found that mother chimpanzees occasionally show their young how to use tools to open hard nuts. In one study, chimpanzees compared two pairs of food wells containing chocolate chips. One pair might contain, say, five chips and three chips, the other our chips and three chips. Allowed to choose which pair they wanted, the chimpanzees almost always chose the one with the higher total, showing some sort of summing ability. Other chimpanzees have learned to use numerals to label quantities of items and do simple sums.

Questions:

1. What does the passage mainly discuss?

(A) The role of instinct in animal behavior

(B) Observations that suggest consciousness in animal behavior

(C) The use of food in studies of animal behavior

(D) Differences between the behavior of animals in their natural environments and in laboratory experiments.

2. Which of the following is NOT discussed as an ability animals are thought to have?

(A) Selecting among choices

(B) Anticipating events to come

(C) Remembering past experiences

(D) Communicating emotions

3. What is the purpose of the honeybee dance?

(A) To determine the quantity of food at a site

(B) To communicate the location of food

(C) To increase the speed of travel to food sources

(D) To identify the type of nectar that is available

4. The word "yet" in line 16 is closest in meaning to

(A) however

(B) since

(C) generally

(D) so far

5. What did researchers discover in the study of honeybees discussed in paragraph 2?

(A) Bees are able to travel at greater speeds than scientists thought.

(B) The bees could travel 25% farther than scientists expected.

(C) The bees were able to determine in advance where scientists would place their food.

(D) Changing the location of food caused bees to decrease their dance activity.

6. It can be inferred from the passage that brain size is assumed to

(A) be an indicator of cognitive ability

(B) vary among individuals within a species

(C) be related to food consumption

(D) correspond to levels of activity

7. Why are otters and mussel shells included in the discussion in paragraph 3?

(A) To provide an example of tool use among animals

(B) To prove that certain species demonstrate greater ability in tool use than other species

(C) To show human superiority over animals

(D) None of the above

8. The word "rudimentary" in line 21 is closest in meaning to

(A) superior

(B) original

(C) basic

(D) technical

9. It can be inferred from the statement about mother chimpanzees and their young (lines 21-23) that young chimpanzees have difficulty

(A) communicating with their mothers

(B) adding quantities

(C) making choices

(D) opening hard nuts

10. The phrase "the one" in line 26 refers to the

(A) study

(B) pair

(C) chimpanzee

(D) ability

11. Scientists concluded from the experiment with chimpanzees and chocolate chips that chimpanzees

(A) lack abilities that other primates have

(B) prefer to work in pairs or groups

(C) exhibit behavior that indicates certain mathematical abilities

(D) have difficulty selecting when given choices

Answers:

1)B 2)C 3)B 4)D 5)C 6)A 7)A 8)B 9)D 10)B 11)C

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