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Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of Unknowns Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of the Unknown


Over the last 100 years or so, there has been a large volume of research into the human 'disgust' response.

See Wikipedia

Although there are (slight) cultural differences across the world, it's currently regarded as a truly 'innate' (rather than learned) emotional response - one which has fairly obvious evolutionary advantages. As an example, a 'disgust' response to rotting food may well save lives, and so people with this facility have the opportunity to pass on the trait to future generations.

There is currently no explanation as to how such behaviours can be biologically 'passed on'. As far as in known, the only route would be through DNA, and there's no theory about how it can code for behaviours.

Note: This is just one example of the numerous - and sometimes complex - behaviour patterns which are somehow inherited, by as-yet-unknown mechanisms. See Instinct and Inheritanceplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigInstinct and Inheritance


Complex behaviour patterns can be learned, but they can also be inherited.

Example 1 The female Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) is a so-called 'brood parasite' - in that it lays its eggs in the nests of other birds. This can't be a 'learned' behaviour, since the bird has never met its parents (except in un-laid egg form) The cuckoo somehow inherits this behaviour - presumably via some as-yet-undiscovered genetic mechanism.

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