Skip to main content

Baldwin effect

Baldwin effect The idea that phenotypic plasticity is a crucial element for the operation of natural selection. In the 1950s, some blue tits in Britain learned to peck away the caps of milk bottles and drink some of the milk. Those capable of learning this were strongly advantaged; in each generation, those which were more and more focused on milk-bottle-opening were selected for, so that a mere ‘capacity to learn’ became a ‘drive to open milk bottles’.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Baldwin effect." A Dictionary of Zoology. . 19 Feb. 2019 <>.

"Baldwin effect." A Dictionary of Zoology. . (February 19, 2019).

"Baldwin effect." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Retrieved February 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.