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  1. #1
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    Default Thomson Gazelle's and the Handicap Principle

    I recently browsed through an article in Wikipedia, here is an excerpt:

    A recognizable example of the gazelle is Thomson's Gazelle (Eudorcas thomsonii), which is around 60 to 90 cm (23 to 35 inches) in height at the shoulder and is coloured brown and white with a distinguishing black stripe (as in the picture on the right). The males have long, often curved, horns. Tommies, as they are familiarly called, exhibit a distinctive behaviour of stotting (running slowly and jumping high before fleeing) when they are threatened by predators such as lions or cheetahs. This is a primary piece of evidence for the handicap principle advanced by Amotz Zahavi in the study of animal communication and behaviour.

    The Thomson Gazelle actually does a high leap while being chased by a predator (which is ostensibly counterproductive to its survival!) before sprinting. This behavior is hypothesized to actually signal to other predators of its competency and fitness, possibly discouraging a predator from pursuing that prey and opting for a "less fit" gazelle.

    I can't help but conjecture that we humans must exhibit that behavior in some way, shape, or form. Just curious, what examples can you think of where you have witnessed/or yourself exhibited your own type of "gazelle jump." Silly question, I know, but try to take this one somewhat seriously. Maybe you have done a gazelle stot during a job interview, competing for a girl/guy's attention, or even flashed one during a group project. All input is welcome.

  2. #2
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    Okay, maybe I can salvage this somehow, lol. I'll give a concrete example:

    I can recall one time at a house party when competing for a girl's attention amongst more assertive guys. I decided to experiment by sitting down and read a book amidst the commotion; In essence I was pleasing myself. This was seemingly counterproductive given my apparent actions, yet it earned me a self-volunteered phone number in the end. I personally view that as an example of "stotting." I hoped that cleared things up for everyone? Lol, otherwise this thread is extinct. Don't limit yourself to the type of scenario I just expounded.

  3. #3
    Habitual Fi LineStepper JocktheMotie's Avatar
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    Sounds like conspicuous consumption to me. In which case we as humans do a lot of this. Just think about those with wealth and how they spend. They have significant materials, they have huge houses, multiple cars, spend 2000 dollars on lunch etc. I'm sure a lot of behaviour is displayed outwardly because we think we have a some of the trait to spare.



  4. #4
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Indeed, this is conspicuous consumption. It is showing-off by proving that you are in such good shape that you can waste, and give yourself avoidable disadvantages.

    And by the way... The thing that Gazelle's do to demonstrate surplus energy... Is called pronking!
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    Senior Member JivinJeffJones's Avatar
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    I don't think weird animal behaviours always provide evolutionary benefits. Take fainting goats, for instance.

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    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    The handicap principle (as I've learned it) is more in the context of female choosing. In other words, the female chooses a male with a handicap (ex large peacock tail) because he's managed to survive despite it, and therefore must be more fit in other areas. However, this isn't necessarily agreed on by everyone, because obviously the birds aren't actually thinking that...anyways..

    Advertising fitness isn't quite the same thing, though it's similar, because the predator is (in theory) being shown how much more effort it'd have to put in to catch that particular gazelle, so it isn't a handicap but rather a warning. Might just be my prof's spin on it, but I'd still trust it over wikipedia.

    But sure, doing something different will get you noticed by other people, sometimes even positively. Doesn't really have much to do with the handicap principle, though, imo.
    -end of thread-

  7. #7
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JivinJeffJones View Post
    I don't think weird animal behaviours always provide evolutionary benefits. Take fainting goats, for instance.
    I always liked that one.
    then again, maybe it helped them pick up guys at rock concerts.

    I don't think all behaviors are necessarily productive either.
    Sometimes they're just residual -- left over from a time where it might have been useful, or it might have come along with some OTHER change that was actually advantageous.

    The environment changes much quicker than the gene structure, so a behavior can go out of vogue quickly with large changes in surroundings. The thing is, the behavior (if genetically based) will still persist unless it results in the death of offspring before reproductive age. As long as the animal reproduces before it dies, it still passes on its genes.

    Does the behavior lead to increased reproductive capacity (enough to propagate more often) or does it lead to the death of the animal before reproducing? That's what matters. Other stuff persists, even if it's not advantageous anymore.
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    That's true, the behavior could be merely vestigial. As long as the minimum effect is neutral and not baneful to the survival of the species it can be retained and transmitted genetically to those next in line. That's one way to look at it: perhaps there is no benefit, maybe it's just a leftover relic of the past.

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    Senior Member Grayscale's Avatar
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    well, remember that there is a vital element of predator/prey that doesnt apply to many of the social situations that would come up here... a gazelle either avoids becoming a lion burger or it doesnt, but success and failure are not so clear in the complex world of human socialization. if, say, i was interested in attracting a woman who has the perception and understanding to recognize what she wants when she sees it, it would be counterproductive to go "stotting", for instance

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    When I am walking alone, I am stone-faced, looking directly ahead at a brisk pace, which pretty much signals "don't fuck with me".

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