Thursday, August 29, 2013

Old whooping cranes show young ones the way

John Roach NBC News
Aug. 29, 2013

When endangered whooping cranes fly their routes to summer breeding grounds, the old birds play a crucial role in showing the young birds where to go.

"This learning takes place over many years," Thomas Mueller, an expert on animal migration at the University of Maryland and lead author of a study on the cranes' migration habits, told NBC News. "It is a long-term process."

The finding adds new support for the idea that at least some of the bird's migratory behavior is learned from experience rather than all of it being the result of information encoded in genes, he noted.


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