The evolution of plant social learning through error minimization

Autor(en): Ona, Leonardo
Ona, Linda S.
Wertz, Annie E.
Stichwörter: BATESIAN MIMICRY; Behavioral Sciences; Biomedical Social Sciences; CATEGORIZATION; COLOR-VISION; DEFENSE; Error minimization; INNATE FOOD AVERSIONS; Plant knowledge; PROTECT; Psychology; Psychology, Biological; REJECTION; Social learning; Social Sciences, Biomedical; STRATEGIES; TRANSMISSION; WEEDS
Erscheinungsdatum: 2019
Volumen: 40
Ausgabe: 5
Startseite: 447
Seitenende: 456
Plants have developed toxic chemical and physical defenses as a consequence of their co-evolution with herbivores. Humans, like other animal species, have evolved strategies to protect themselves from such plant dangers. For example, recent studies have shown that human infants exhibit a reluctance to manually explore plants and use social learning (SL) to acquire knowledge about plants. However, SL can also be costly under certain circumstances and there is reason to suspect this may be the case for plants. Some plant species are difficult to distinguish from one another. For example, some plants have evolved an adaptive strategy to fight against herbivorous threats, called Batesian mimicry, in which an edible plant mimics features of a poisonous plant to minimize the probability that it is consumed. When SL is prevalent in a population, by proliferating the knowledge about an edible mimic, SL also spreads the risk of consuming its poisonous counterpart. Here we propose a model describing different scenarios where SL is (a) favored, (b) ecologically stable, and (c) expected to evolve. Results show that SL is selected when the proportion of poisonous plants is high. However, this is only true if the edible mimic population is below a certain threshold and its selection depends on the capacity to minimize errors when differentiating edible mimics from their poisonous counterparts.
ISSN: 10905138
DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2019.05.009

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