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The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the term altricial as the following:Edit[]


adjective \pri-ˈkō-shəl\ capable of a high degree of independent activity from birth <ducklings are precocial> 

Precocial referes to the development type of young.


Spoon-billed Sandpiper Hatch

Precocial young are young shortly after birth or hatching that are developed in a way they a

ble to

move about and feed themselves. This type of young would be considered mature at birth or shortly thereafter (K

unkele & Trillmich, 1997).

The amount of cost required for gestation of precocial young in the wild is thought to more than that of altricial young due to the amount of time required to develop highly mature young at birth. A great example of precocial young is the elephant. The typical gestation for an elephant is 22 months. "Precocial species have relatively large brains at hatching-as one might expect since the young, to one degree or another, must be able to fend for themselves. But precocial species trade for this advantage an adult brain that is small in relation to their body size" (Ehrlich, Dobkin & Wheye, 1988).

Works Cited:

Ehrilch, P., Dobkin, D. & Wheye, D. (1988). http://www.stanford.edu/group/stanfordbirds/text/essays/Precocial_and_Altricial.html

Künkele, J., & Trillmich, F. (1997). Are precocial young cheaper? Lactation energetics in the guinea pig. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, 70(5), 589-596.

Precocial. (n.d.). Merriam-Webster.com. Retrieved November 29, 2013, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/precocial