Your response should be composed using correct grammar, complete sentences, and discrete
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Background: Wild dragons are seasonal breeders. To prepare for mating season, both males and
females collect treasure to create large hoards. Collecting treasure into a large hoard requires skill.
Dragons that are collecting treasure will patrol through the air, using their keen eyesight to search for shiny and sparkly objects. When a dragon sees something sparkly that it perceives to be treasure, it will immediately swoop down, grab it, and take it directly to its cavern. Dragons will stop at nothing to obtain what they perceive to be treasure and will burn anything in their path in order to do so. As long as a dragon perceives that its treasure collection is not large enough, it will continue to search for treasure to collect; leaving destruction in its wake.
Males and females use their treasure for slightly different purposes. When mating season begins, males move their entire treasure hoard to the mouths of their caves and then carefully arrange the individual treasure items so that the most sparkly items can catch and reflect sunlight to attract females. Male dragons do not feed during mating season in order to remain near their treasure hoard so they are close by when females arrive to check out their sparkly treasure as well as to aggressively defend their treasure against other males who may not have been successful at collecting a large hoard of their own and are attempting to steal treasure from other males.
During mating season, females, on the other hand, select a few of their own sparkly items and fly
around with them in their forepaws while they check out how sparkly various male treasure hoards are. When a female is attracted to an especially sparkly treasure hoard and decides to land to get a closer look, she flashes the sparkly items in her forepaws at the male guarding his treasure to indicate that she is a female interested in mating; otherwise, the male guarding that hoard may mistake her for another male attempting to steal his treasure. Sometimes, a male who has not successfully collected a large hoard will hold a few of his own sparkly items in his forepaws and flash them at a male guarding a treasure hoard while attempting to swoop in and steal from the guarding male. Once a female has landed in front of a male’s cave and has inspected the male’s treasure hoard, she will either fly away or allow the male to copulate with her. In general, females are more likely to copulate with males with large and sparkly treasure hoards.
Essay #4 prompt: Drawing from your lecture notes, discussion section materials, and the textbook on the topics of Communication, Sexual Behavior, and Learning & Cognition answer the following
1. Based on the background information, what kind of mating system applies to dragons? Drawing from the Sexual Behavior lectures, which of the hypotheses explaining female mate choice do you think is the MOST LIKELY basis for the female dragons’ decision to mate or not? Based on the background information, provide one reason to rule out each of the other hypotheses.
2. What function could explain why female dragons carry sparkly items in their forepaws during mating season? Provide evidence from the background to support your answer.
3. Drawing from the Communication lectures, provide an explanation for why males who were not successful at collecting large hoards of treasure will fly around holding sparkly items in their
forepaws. Referring to your Cognition discussion and lecture material, identify 2 cognitive abilities
must these unsuccessful male dragons be capable of to perform this behavior.