Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"These animals are really conservative"

"Deer still balk at crossing the border with Germany even though the physical (electrified) fence came down a quarter century ago, new studies show."
Czechoslovakia, where the communists took power in 1948, had three parallel electrified fences, patrolled by heavily armed guards. Nearly 500 people were killed when they attempted to escape communism.

Deer were also victims of the barrier. A seven-year study in the Czech Republic's Sumava National Park showed that the original Iron Curtain line still deters one species, red deer, from crossing.
Better red than dead
"It was fascinating to realize for the first time that anything like that is possible," said Pavel Sustr, a biologist who led the Czech project. Scientists conducting research on German territory reached similar conclusions.

The average life expectancy for deer is 15 years and none living now would have encountered the barrier.

"But the border still plays a role for them and separates the two populations," Sustr said. He said the research showed the animals stick to traditional life patterns, returning every year to the same places.


Shouting Thomas said...

Commie vs. free market deer!

A white tail just strolled by my window.

Deer may live to 15, but a large number die under the wheels of cars. Learning to look both ways before you bolt across the road seems to take a coupla years.

AllenS said...

Back when I raised beef cattle and before I had all of the barbed wire fences up, I used electric fences to keep the cattle in the pasture. You always have one problem animal, and all I had to do was shut off the electricity to the fence, and that cow was through the wire immediately. The other cows would just look at her, like "what? how did you get over there?" and stay in the pasture.

Rabel said...

Science has no rational explanation of the process by which unlearned behaviors are passed from generation to generation.

This is one of the greatest weaknesses in evolutionary theory. Darwin recognized that and stated that his lack of an explanation for instinctive behavior could tear down his entire thesis.

He took a shot at it in a chapter on the behavior of social insects but acknowledged that that attempt did not strengthen the basis for his theories.

Side note: go to the Wikipedia page on evolution and do a word search for "instinct." You'll get no result. I guess you could call that "benign neglect."