Social Behaviors and Evolution Overview
This standard is concerned with animal behaviour, especially the contrast between individual and collective behaviour, and how group behaviour might help species survive.
The Actual Standard:
Examine the evidence on the impact of group behaviour on the likelihood of individuals and species surviving and reproducing.
The primary premise of this standard is that there are group activities that may improve a population’s survival and reproduction rate. Because social species share a considerable percentage of their DNA, group behaviours are likely to have evolved. This shared DNA allows creatures to participate in social behaviours such as altruism since it benefits the genes they carry, even if doing so reduces individual fitness and survival.
Comparisons between solitary and sociable animals, as well as between individual and group behaviours, should be made. Furthermore, these opposing viewpoints are not mutually exclusive. In order to breed, solitary animals (such as snakes) must participate in group or social activities. Similarly, animals living in a colony display a variety of unique behaviours connected to their own survival (such as breathing).
Most creatures employ a mix of collective and individual actions to enhance their fitness and survival, which is an essential aspect to remember. Eusocial species (bees, ants, and termites) have a high degree of group activity, while other social animals have a mix of individual and group activities.
Clarification Statement Emphasis is on:
(1) Distinguishing between group and individual behaviour,
(2) Identifying evidence supporting the outcomes of group behaviour,
(3) Develop logical and reasonable arguments based on evidence.
Let’s take a look at each of these points individually:
Individual vs Group Behaviour
Individual behaviour is usually performed by a single organism in order to maximise its chances of surviving and reproducing. Multiple organisms participate in group behaviours at the same time, and they all contribute to the group’s survival. Many behaviours contain both individual and collective characteristics, so this is a broad description.
Separating the presumed role of each behaviour into parts that benefit the individual and aspects that serve the group is the best method to convey this topic to pupils. Some actions are solely individual (breathing), while others are solely group-based (bees attacking), and yet others are useful to both individuals and groups (play-based learning in newborn wolves, for example).
Evidence of Group Behaviour
Examining evidence of group behaviour entails determining the advantages that a group of organisms derive from exhibiting group behaviour. Larger meals gained by pack hunting, for example, demonstrate how a group may boost the survival of all members of the group. Similarly, in herding animals, protective actions guarantee that young individuals survive to maturity, ensuring the group’s survival.
If no proof of a benefit to the group can be established, the action at issue may be considered an individual activity. A male deer, for example, may rub his antlers against trees to remove the velvet-like coating. This behaviour boosts the odds of the male mating, but it has little effect on the rest of the herd.
Developing Arguments based on Evidence
Encouraging pupils to generate their own hypotheses and logical conclusions based on data is one of the fundamental features of this level. Providing measurements, data, and statistics on different animal behaviours, as well as assisting students in developing their own arguments as to why particular behaviours are individual or group-based, is a terrific way to achieve this. There are many good justifications for each activity, since the border between individual and collective actions is blurred.
Examples of group behaviours
Flocking, schooling, herding, and cooperative actions including hunting, migrating, and swarming are examples of group behaviours.