Sign Systems Studies 38 (1/4):349-376 (2010)
AbstractBiological mimicry can be considered as having a double-layered structure: there is a layer of ecological relations between species and there is a layer of semiotic relations of the sign. The present article demonstrates the limitations of triadic models and typologies of mimicry, as well as their lack of correspondence to mimicry as it actually occurs in nature. It is argued that more dynamical semiotic tools are needed to describe mimicry in a theoretically coherent way that would at the same time allow comparative approach to various mimicry cases. For this a five-stage model of analysis is proposed, which incorporates classical mimicry theory, Jakob von Uexküll’s Umwelt-theory, as well as semiotic and communication analysis. This research model can be expressed in the form of five questions: 1) What is the formal structure of mimicry system? 2) What are the perceptual and effectual correspondences between the participants of mimicry? 3) What are the characteristics of resemblances? 4) How is the mimicry system regulated in ontogenetic and evolutionary processes? 5) How is the mimicry system related to human cultural processes? As a practical example of this semiotic methodology, brood parasitism between the common cuckoo Cuculus canorus and his frequent host species is examined
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Citations of this work
Scaffolding and Mimicry: A Semiotic View of the Evolutionary Dynamics of Mimicry Systems.Timo Maran - 2015 - Biosemiotics 8 (2):211-222.
Introduction to Signs and Communication in Mimicry.Karel Kleisner & Timo Maran - 2019 - Biosemiotics 12 (1):1-6.
References found in this work
The Study of Instinct.N. Tinbergen - 1954 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 5 (17):72-76.
Becoming a Sign: The Mimic’s Activity in Biological Mimicry.Timo Maran - 2011 - Biosemiotics 4 (2):243-257.