Evolution of Animal Communication Reliability and Deception in Signaling Systems

ISBN-10: 0691070954
ISBN-13: 9780691070957
Edition: 2006
List price: $75.00 Buy it from $32.15
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Description: Gull chicks beg for food from their parents. Peacocks spread their tails to attract potential mates. Meerkats alert family members of the approach of predators. But are these--and other animals--sometimes dishonest? That's what William Searcy and  More...

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Book details

List price: $75.00
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 9/4/2005
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 288
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.880
Language: English

Gull chicks beg for food from their parents. Peacocks spread their tails to attract potential mates. Meerkats alert family members of the approach of predators. But are these--and other animals--sometimes dishonest? That's what William Searcy and Stephen Nowicki ask inThe Evolution of Animal Communication. They take on the fascinating yet perplexing question of the dependability of animal signaling systems. The book probes such phenomena as the begging of nesting birds, alarm calls in squirrels and primates, carotenoid coloration in fish and birds, the calls of frogs and toads, and weapon displays in crustaceans. Do these signals convey accurate information about the signaler, its future behavior, or its environment? Or do they mislead receivers in a way that benefits the signaler? For example, is the begging chick really hungry as its cries indicate or is it lobbying to get more food than its brothers and sisters? Searcy and Nowicki take on these and other questions by developing clear definitions of key issues, by reviewing the most relevant empirical data and game theory models available, and by asking how well theory matches data. They find that animal communication is largely reliable--but that this basic reliability also allows the clever deceiver to flourish. Well researched and clearly written, their book provides new insight into animal communication, behavior, and evolution.

Figures, Boxes, and Table
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Definitions
Some History
Categories of Signal Costs
Alternative Explanations for Reliability
Deception Redux
Evolutionary Interests of Signalers and Receivers
Signaling When Interests Overlap
Signaling Between Relatives: Theory
Begging
Alarms
Food Calls
Individually Directed Skepticism
Conclusions
Signaling When Interests Diverge
Mating Signals: Theory
Carotenoid Pigmentation
Songs in Oscine Birds
Tail Length in Birds
Conclusions
Signaling When Interests Oppose
Signaling in Aggressive Contexts: Theory
Postural Displays of Aggression in Birds
Badges of Status
Weapon Displays in Crustaceans
Dominant Frequency in Calls of Frogs and Toads
Conclusions
Honesty and Deception in Communication Networks
Third-Party Receivers
"Eavesdropping" versus "Interception"
Eavesdropping in Signaling Interactions
Third-Party Receivers and Reliability
Conclusions
Conclusions
Reliability
Alternatives to the Handicap Mechanism
Deceit
The Balance of Reliability and Deceit
References
Author Index

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