what is instinct, not like what it is but how do animals know what to do and how does it get passed even if they never meet their parents


what is instinct, not like what it is but how do animals know what to do and how does it get passed even if they never meet their parents

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4 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s basically how evolution has shaped their brains.

And it applies to us humans, too. Our brains are basically built to focus on and recognise faces, for example. We also instinctively know how to learn languages (and learn/be super curious in general).

Anonymous 0 Comments

A brain is built a certain way, and it functions a certain way. Instincts aren’t like memories or knowledge that gets passed along, but your genetics determine how your brain develops and the way your brain develops informs your behaviors. A cat brain is built differently from a bird brain, and a bird brain is different from a cow brain, etc. so all these species exhibit different behaviors naturally. Its just like any device or machine, it functions the only way its capable of functioning.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Instincts are truly amazing, such as some of the nests birds build. The tailorbird actually will sew leaves together using grass as a thread. How does DNA wire the brain to know how to do that? We still have a lot to learn.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Many good answers here. I’d like to add that instincts are but one layer in a multilayered control mechanism available to living beings.

Autonomous processes are available to even single cell organisms. Metabolism, heartbeat, growth and healing are all autonomous. The mechanisms respond to local conditions, mostly in and around the actual cells. Hormones are used to trigger responses in disparate parts of a multicellular organism.

Reflexes are on a slightly higher level, often involving local nerves and muscles. Blinking when something approaches your eyes, or dropping something too hot to hold, happens before the brain has time to register the impulse. Breathing is a reflex, so is digestion (a bunch of them actually, residing in their own nervous system).

Instincts are on the next level, and reside in the brain. They make us want to eat, sleep, mate and so on. They can elicit much more complex responses than reflexes, and as far as I know, all animals with brains have them. Maybe they’re how brains evolved in the first place.

Emotions are the next level of control mechanism, and they’re important for social bonding, cooperation and cohesion.

Intelligence is the next level, which enables analysis, teaching and learning, and at the highest level invention and rational thought.

It’d argue that creativity and curiosity are the icing on the intelligence cake. They compel us to exercise our intelligence in all sorts of interesting ways. Curiosity is quite old (rats, cats and some birds are famously curious), while creativity is very new – as far as we know, it started only 90000 years ago, when humans began to create art all over the place.