Science 30 November 2012: Vol. 338 no. 6111 p. 1129
Editors’ Choice Ecology
Excerpt: “Recognition between parent and offspring is an essential component of reproduction for many species. Its importance is … often facilitated through call recognition by both mothers and offspring…”
My comment: Infant-mother recognition is facilitated across vertebrate species by the epigenetic effects of nutrient chemicals that metabolize to species-specific pheromones. The fact that no one has shown a direct link from auditory stimuli to gene activation in hormone-secreting nerve cells of the vertebrate brain, but the link from pheromones to the medial preoptic area (MPOA) of the avian brain has been detailed, strongly suggests that the auditory stimuli associated with the “call” must first be associated with genetically predisposed “imprinting” that may occur before the eggs hatch, as it appears to do with the eggs of invertebrate species. This “…broadens the time course over which hormonal actions on insect behavior are considered, from egg to adult.” — per the conclusion of Elekonich & Robinson (2000). Their conclusion appears to be based, in part on what we detailed in From fertilization to adult sexual behavior. For example, the molecular epigenetics probably do not change across species. Is any avian species known to be an outlier given the molecular mechanisms of adaptive evolution that ensure nutrient chemical-dependent and pheromone-controlled individual and species survival from egg to adult, which also ensures adaptive evolution in mammals from fertilization to adults?