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Why do ducklings follow the first object they see?

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When a duckling is hatched, it is essential that it stays close to its mother for its own survival. The duckling seems to know this instinctively. Normally, the first object that it sees is its mother, and her image is stamped in its mind from that moment onwards. This phenomenon is called ‘imprinting’, a behaviour that makes the duckling blindly follow the mother duck everywhere. Even if it is not its mother duck, the duckling will ‘imprint’ the image, and will faithfully follow the first object that they ever see.

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