30/03/2007 · Proximal vs Ultimate Causation

None of the above theories or mechanisms that deal with proximate causation should, in principle, be incompatible with the present formulation that proposes a hypothesis at the level of ultimate causation.

In this way, one can see how intimately related the ultimate and proximate levels can be.

The analysis of genetic effects and the selective effects of behavioraltraits illustrates the dichotomy between proximate and ultimate approachesto the analysis of behavior that was discussed in Chapter 1: History andPhilosophy of Behavioral Studies. In this chapter, we will explore the twoissues of proximate and ultimate causation. In terms of Tinbergen's fourprocesses we focus on , in this case the most proximate ofcauses -- genes. We also focus on or as we look at phenotypic selection. The change in genetic factors as a functionof the selective environment reflects the process of adaptation. The firstgoal of this chapter is to develop an understanding of the process of naturaland sexual selection. The second goal of the chapter is to develop an appreciationof the process of adaptation. I do not want to dissect selective explanationsfor all animal behaviors, but rather, this chapter is meant to provide atheoretical scaffolding that we can use to hang analyses of specific behavioraltraits that are found in upcoming chapters.


Proximate vs. Ultimate Cause | The Wildlife Blog

This ultimate and proximate account parsimoniously explains different phylogenetic and ontogenetic levels of empathy.

Evolutionary theory deals with questions of ultimate causation; that is the adaptive function of a certain trait or organ in the ancestral environment. However, evolutionary hypotheses are compatible and consistent with layers of proximate causation. Such proximate explanations will focus on biochemical, physiological, developmental, social and other immediate causes for the expression of a particular characteristic (Symons,1987; Thornhill & Thornhill, 1987).


Stem Cell Research and ‘Science vs


Seasonality, food supply, predation, and pathogens have all been suggested as contributing to the small clutch sizes typical of tropical passerines,
but questions remain concerning the relative importance of these factors and how they might interact (a). Ricklefs and Wikelski (2002) outline a
possible solution to this problem (b). A variety of environmental factors could act on separate physiological systems, each of which could influence
the number of offspring parents can rear. For example, pathogens influence the immune system, food impacts the metabolic system, and environmental
unpredictability might interact with the endocrine system. Because of internal physiological tradeoffs between these systems, and because of system
constraints, the ultimate outcome might be the same: a slow pace of life in tropical passerines, as indicated by a uniformly small clutch size and long life span.

Dumb Scientist – Abrupt climate change

Neither the interactions of alleles, genes, traits, or the effect ofselection can be predicted from the structure of an allele. It is the existenceof higher level properties of genes and proximate mechanisms that presentsdifficulties for the theory of genic selection. We refer to such higher-levelfeatures of genes as emergent properties. The effect of genes cannotnecessarily be reduced to a description of a single allele or even allelesat a locus, because the emergent properties of the genes arise from higherlevels or organismal integration. Have we saturated the kinds of emergentproperties of a gene or are there higher-level interactions to be foundin kin and group selection?

Human Aggression | Annual Review of Psychology

In addition, this proximate mechanism can be combined with behavioral research on emotional development and comparative research on empathy for an ultimate level description that addresses the evolution and function of empathy.