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If you took a newborn animal and completely isolated it from its species, would it be capable of assuming a fight or flight distance preset by its species, due to their being no basis for what could harm the animal?

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What do you mean by "distance"? Can you give an example? – kmm Aug 4 '13 at 20:15

It probably is somewhat genetic. A good example is pigeons. When you approach them, they turn their back to you so that if you get close enough they can escape / fly away. I'd be surprised if this is only a learned behavior, but I also note that pigeons who have been fed let you approach to a closer distance than other birds, so in this example a distance is not completely hard wired.

Such behaviors are more likely a combination of learned and genetic, especially as the animal becomes more complex (has a larger brain). This is a major concern of 'ethology'.

I think few inherited behaviors are completely inflexible.

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