Re: Mimicking in animals

t (
Wed, 28 Apr 1999 09:38:52 +0200

From: <>
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 1999 09:38:52 +0200
Subject: Re: Mimicking in animals

Gatherer, D. (Derek) wrote:

> Mario: (on soacial learning vs. imitation)
> How do you make the difference?Where would the blackbird behaviour fit in?
> Derek:
> The difference is explained in Meme Machine p47 et seq. The blackbird
> behaviour looks like it might be true imitation,

Right.(For the reader: Young blackbirds start mobbing objects which they have
seen mobbed by other blackbirds, even if these objects are harmless).

> and of course blackbirds
> have been known to imitate alarm clocks and car alarms (as Sue says, p.49).

This is just imitation of acoustic signals of which we can be convinced since
long.More important is the blackbird imitation of visually observable behaviour
(mobbing) as an example of animal imitation, since this then undermines Sue
Blackmore's stance (that imitation is unique to humans) to some degree.

Mario Vaneechoutte
Department Clinical Chemistry, Microbiology & Immunology
University Hospital
De Pintelaan 185
9000 GENT
Phone: +32 9 240 36 92
Fax: +32 9 240 36 59


Symposium 'Water and Human Evolution'. April 30th , Ghent, Belgium Information at:

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