Ethology



The biological study of animal behavior is called Ethology. All behavior is a reaction to a stimulus. John B. Watson influenced animal behavior in the twentieth century. He published a book in 1924 called Behaviorism. Jakob von Uexkull and O. Heinroth started a school that taught about animal behavior. There are two categories of animal behavior: "genetically determined" or "environmentally determined." Animal behavior is the different ways that animals do different things, such as hunting. An example of this would be how a lion hides in the grass to hunt their prey. Some of these are instinct or they must learn from their parents or the hard way.

Examples of animal behavior

When a jackdaw bird first makes its nest, it has to learn

Page 3

new ways to make it. It might start trying to make its nest with light bulbs and other items that are not needed to make a nest. When it uses a twigs to make the nest, it finally learns that twigs are the best item to make the nest with. The jackdaw stores what it learns, and it only uses the twigs that it used earlier.

When ducklings hatch out of their eggs, they follow their mother. During this time they learn the differences in males and females. They will need this when they grow older, and use this for mating. If they were to follow other species they would do the things that they do and be with them.

A very important part of a bird's learning is learning the different songs. The young male can only learn the territorial song. This song can only be learned during the first eight weeks of its life. Some birds that her other birds' songs. The bird can never learn that song. They are not exposed to their species' song until late in the first year of their life.

Most animals learn new things from trial-and-error. If an animal tries to attack a group, but instead the group defends themselves very well and the animal fails. After it fails it will stop trying to hunt it. This is called trial-and-error. If a light turns on a young rat might not know what to do. After it grows more

Page 4

mature it will automatically leave the room. If you train an animal right it would do what you want it to do. You could train a pigeon to dance if you give it food. Some procedures are sometimes used on humans to lower their heart rate or alter their brain waves.

Researchers are interested in the way behavior is like adaptations, but learning with behavior is a faster way. They say that behavior evolves such as science says that animals do. They say this because now, because of humans, there are many different environments that animals have to learn to deal with. They say that different behaviors solve different problems. Flexible Learning will teach an animal to respond to unpredictable situations.

Another example of animal behavior is the sun dance of the honeybees. When a honeybee finds nectar in a flower it will tell the other bees in the hive. It does a dance to tell the other bees exactly where the nectar is. They also use angles from the sun to determine where the nectar is. A certain dance stands for different places.

One more example of animal behavior is when sea gulls, dogs, as well as other animals have the same movements when being attacked. Some would stretch their necks to make them

Page 5

look larger than they are. They would sometimes crouch low and bring their neck up. This is usually used for defense. Animals such as the grouse would puff up their feathers to make them look much larger. This is used on attacks. Animals in the same group would fight against each other to gain status in the group. They fight for who would be the leader of the group.

Animals have a way of telling each other apart. Prairie dogs touch each others teeth, seals do the same, and chimpanzees touch hands to tell each other apart.



Genetics of Behavior

Some birds have special cells that make it do specific things with its eggs, such as detect it when it is out of place. Behavioral genetics are specific genes that control individual behavioral patterns.



The Physiology of Behavior

Some animals such as frogs have special cells in their eyes that detect small,