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Animal Innovation$
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Simon M. Reader and Kevin N. Laland

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198526223

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198526223.001.0001

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The Role of Neophobia and Neophilia in the Development of Innovative Behaviour of Birds

The Role of Neophobia and Neophilia in the Development of Innovative Behaviour of Birds

(p.175) Chapter 8 The Role of Neophobia and Neophilia in the Development of Innovative Behaviour of Birds
Animal Innovation

Russell Greenberg

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the possible link between novelty responses and the probability that an innovation will arise in foraging birds. This chapter reveals that for foraging adult birds, neophobia is the most apparent response to novelty. Although neophobia is a widespread, if not universal response, of adult birds, the intensity of expression varies considerably between individuals within a species and between closely related species. It further elaborates the two hypotheses that account for adaptive variation in neophobia: the neophobia threshold hypothesis (NTH) and the dangerous niche hypothesis (DNH). This chapter states that uninhibited neophilia is commonly expressed in juvenile birds, particularly passerines. The nexus of neophilia, object play, and a high degree of motor plasticity in juveniles make this life history stage an important one to examine for the origins of innovative behaviour. This chapter conclusively states that it is likely that neophilia and neophobia can function simultaneously in adult birds, and that initial neophobia masks any attraction to novelty.

Keywords:   novelty, innovation, foraging birds, neophobia, dangerous niche, neophilia

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