A new study has demonstrated that chicks are born with the knowledge to flee from predators rather than learning it from experience. New-born chicks also know to slow down or stop moving (freeze) to avoid being noticed when a predator is far away. The study demonstrated that these responses do not require learning but are known by the chick before it is born.
“Our results show that at the beginning of life animals are well equipped to cope with threats present in their environment, they possess some predispositions that help them to survive.”
-Dr. Elisabetta Versace, co-author of the study, Queen Mary University of London
Journal Reference: Marie Hébert, Elisabetta Versace, Giorgio Vallortigara. Inexperienced preys know when to flee or to freeze in front of a threat. PNAS, 2019.