Animals learn to reconqnize and follow the 1st moving object

Neural Control of Filial Imprinting

Newly hatched chicks will follow almost anything that has eyes and moves. After the chick follows something, another part of the brain, analogous to the frontal cortex, recognizes and imprints on the individual being followed. There is an instinct for chicks to follow, and then they learn what they are following.It might seem odd that being able to identify and follow a mother.If a chick's mother dies, the chick can then be adopted by another family member or conspecific. If the chick's recognition of its mother were genetic, the chick would not follow its adoptive parent, and would die. The chick's neural imprinting system allows more adaptive flexibility and hence is an advantage.

Sexual Imprinting

Most animals are not monogamous. Many animals receive no parental care at all. If a young female is raised by her mother with no father around. Sexual imprinting is a general imprinting; it is not specific to individuals, only species typical characteristics. The more general system of sexual imprinting allows young to learn to recognize potential mates without inbreeding.There are many examples of offspring raised by foster parents of a different species preferring to mate with the foster species over its own species. Lorenz's geese were more sexually attracted to humans than to other geese. Goats raised by sheep mature and prefer to mate with sheep, and sheep raised by goats prefer to have goats as mates.


Neural Control of Imprinting and Sexual Imprinting

Pictures: Google