Hogs and instinct

John L. Doughty, Jr. (doughty@LEE.1STNET.COM)
Fri, 26 Jul 1996 16:33:34 -0500

Jeannine Jarvis wrote: "I'm not convinced that maternal behaviors are =
instinctual, in any life form. Rather, I would go out on a (short?) limb =
to argue that maternal behavior --i.e., feeding, protecting -- offspring =
is a learned behavior."
I hate to bring up those hogs I talked about the other day, but, no, =
Jeannine, you're out on a long limb. Maternal behavior is no more =
learned than the behavior of their offspring. I've witnessed the birth =
of many pigs. The moment they pop out of the birth canal, they break =
the placenta, and then immediately crawl up their mother's belly in a =
frantic search for a teat.

No one or no thing "learned" them that. The reason they do it is =
instinct born of evolution. If they don't find one, they die. And in =
the case of wild hogs with a large litter, the last one or two born do =
just that--die. And their mother soon eats them--which is maternal =
behavior of a different kind, and, probably, also evolutionary.

Junior Doughty
Natchitoches, LA