Talk:Ethology

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Misc[edit]

Hmm, not much practical information on Ethology, and that while it's potentially one of the most exciting[1] sciences in existence.

One of the more notable things is that Ethology doesn't just use Empiricism and theory of science, like most sciences, but it actually occaisionally goes all the way back to Epistemology to resolve problems with differences in perception between observer and observed.

[1] Exciting in the sense that in field research, it's said to help if you're a good runner.

Kim Bruning 15:06, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Reverted[edit]

I removed these edits by User:Bobble, User:Wikiconcarne, and User:Wikiwikifresh (all of who are pretty clearly the same person). There seems to be actual information in here, although not much of use as far as I can tell. I don't have time to go through it right now, so I'll look at it later or you decide. --128.218.169.187 19:47, 10 Dec 2004 (UTC)


Myontonia in Tennessee Fainting Goats[edit]

Animal Behavior

When most people think of goats, they think of high jumpers and strong climbers. In the case of the Tennessee fainting goat, the goat is medium sized compared to its relatives and neither jumps high nor can climb very strongly. These goats might seem like they are hurting themselves every time they fall over, but their muscles actually become stronger because of fainting. Tennessee fainting goats are fascinating creatures that use a defense mechanism that developed because of a combination of recessive genes. Tennessee Fainting goats (Capra hircus) are often called stiff-leg, nervous, wooden-leg, and scare goat. This type of goat originated in Tennessee due to a genetic defect that caused these goats to develop myotonia congenita. Myotonia congenita is a condition that is caused by a combination of recessive genes. These goats do not actually faint, and myotonia has nothing to do with the goat’s central nervous system. This condition only affects the goat’s external muscles, which makes the goat’s external leg muscles to become stiff. Stiffness in the external muscles can lead younger goats to fall over while older goats learn to lock their legs and still stand. Although these goats might fall over and seem to pass out, myotonia will not harm any internal organs. The goats remain conscious during the whole experience and will regain mobility to its legs within ten to fifteen seconds after it has fallen down. The effects of myotonia can also vary due to the intensity of how frighten the goat becomes when it is scared. The goat is more likely to fall down when the level of fright becomes higher. The Tennessee fainting goat also uses fainting as a defense mechanism by pretending to be dead. Because of the myotonia, the Tennessee fainting goat’s muscles have more overall muscle mass than its other relatives. Tennessee fainting goats become very full and wide because of the increase muscle mass. This goat is sometimes called meat goats because of the better quality of meat they produce since their muscle contract more often and increase striated muscle because of myotonia. Other than increasing muscle mass, myotonia serves a purpose to shepherds as well. Although sometimes fainting does not work to the goat’s advantage, Shepherds keep fainting goats within their flock of sheep to allow the sheep to get away while the fainting goat is sacrificed. When wolves attack the herd, the fainting goat becomes startled and falls down. The wolf will go after the goat that is immobile rather than expending energy to chase the sheep. Other than falling over when scared, the Tennessee fainting goats can also be distinguished from other goats by their bulgy eyes and long erected ears. Tennessee fainting goats have high reproductive rates and are in heat most of the year, which make them excellent animal to breed. They are also docile creatures are less prone to escape as oppose to other goats. They make excellent pets and make a good dinner because of their quality of meat.

[[1]][[2]][[3]]

[[4]] --Wikiwikifresh 23:45, 9 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Animal Sexuality[edit]

Brooke Vreeland

Biology Undergraduate

Loyola University, New Orleans


Animal behavior can be defined in many ways. One definition defines animal behavior as, “what an animal does and how it does it, which encompasses the nonmotor components of behavior as well as an animal’s observable actions” (Campbell, et al. 1999). One aspect of animal behavior that will be addressed here is sexuality. It is important to note that when studying animal behavior, one should always keep in mind the proximate and ultimate causes (how and why behavior exists).

Although sexual intercourse seems to be a single act, there are many behaviors leading up to the point. There are few animals (such as humans) that enjoy copulation simply for pleasure. For many animals, intercourse is a means of reproduction that can have profound effects on future generations of that animal’s species. Many behaviors revolving around sexuality involve the selection of the best mate possible. By doing this, an animal is essentially passing down the best genes to his or her offspring, causing the offspring to be able to compete and survive amongst their peers. Natural selection is extremely evident in the Animal Kingdom, in which the fight every day leads to the survival of the fittest, and possibly, one’s own genes surviving for many generations.

One important behavior leading to sexual intercourse is the selection of a mate. Particularly true for humans, facial symmetry (as well as body symmetry) is associated with attractiveness. Often, symmetry is associated with health, such as in the brush-legged wolf spider, where females rarely choose males with asymmetrical tufts. It turns out that these males do tend to be smaller and in poorer condition. Several theories define how females tend to choose mates, generally stating the same idea, that males with ornamentation of certain types are signs of material benefits, health, and good genes. Some females even go so far as to deny copulation until a “gift” has been presented to her liking, such as the black-tipped hangingfly, who will only allow the act to proceed when an edible present is available.

Another important behavior that can occur before or after copulation is mate guarding. Mate guarding is “a strategy in which a male attempts to prevent other males from gaining access to a potential or actual mate” (Alcock 2001). Two strategies of mate guarding include sealing the female’s genital closed after copulation and basically staying with the female to ward off other males whose sperm could later be used to fertilize the eggs. These acts lead to the notions of monogamy and polygamy. Although it is hard to believe, monogamy is not natural to mammals. The benefits of monogamy include ensuring that a male’s sperm is used and helping to rear offspring. On the other hand, polygamy ensures that a male’s sperm is spread around enough to potentially produce numerous offspring to subsequent generations. In essence, humans have a fairly simple system of sexuality compared to our fellow animals. After finding a partner, we live an easy sexual life, so the next time you see a movie about a teenage virgin in agony, think twice about what it would be like to be a member of a wild species!



WORKS CITED

Alcock, John. Animal Behavior: An Evolutionary Approach. 7th Ed. 2001. Sinauer Associates, Inc.

Campbell, Neil A., Jane B. Reece, and Lawrence G. Mitchell. Biology. 5th Ed. 1999. Benjamin/Cummings.


Male Brooding in the Syngnathidae and Its Effects on Sexual Behavior[edit]

Ignacio Zabaleta

Biology Undergraduate

Loyola University, New Orleans


In the animal world, the amount of energy that a given sex puts into the care of its offspring dictates the level at which it is able to decide on which partner is suitable for mating. The luxury of having the opposite sex audition for an opportunity to mate is earned through the responsibility of caring for the ensuing offspring. In the majority of terrestrial animals, the way that the reproductive social structure works is that males compete with each other in order to gain an opportunity to copulate with a female, who is the one that chooses the worthy sex partner. Once a sexual relationship is attained and the deed is done, the male usually then leaves the female to go off in search of another sexual encounter. The male need not worry about his progeny because while the male is out, prowling for a new mate, the female stays behind to care for the young.

When it comes to marine life, however, the roles between males and females become blurred. There is far more concern of the males for their offspring. Some species of fish guard the area where their eggs are kept. Some species of male fish even go as far as brooding the eggs in their own mouths. Nonetheless, no fish shows their determination for patriarchal care for their young as much as the seahorse, or class Syngnathidae. “During mating, the female transfers eggs into or onto specialized egg-brooding structures that are located on either the male's abdomen or its tail, where they are osmoregulated, aerated, and nourished by specially adapted structures.” ([[5]]) This physical and energetic commitment seriously warps any semblance of the idea of the sexual roles of males and females to the point of near perversion. As it may be concluded from this strange fact, because of this increased attention to offspring on the males behalf over the amount of energy expenditure that the females donate to their young, there must be a resulting role reversal in terms of the social interactions for sexual partner selection. In fact, for the most part, there is. As the role of parental care is switched from the female to male, so is the mating competition changed from male-male to female-female. This means that in this reversed situation, the females must compete against one another for an attempt to transfer her eggs into the male. Here the male is the determining factor in which female’s eggs get fertilized. Accompanying this new set of rules is the change in sexual dimorphism. “True to predictions…several species are sex-role reversed (e.g., Nerophis ophidion, Stigmatopora nigra, Syngnathus typhle), with females that are more vividly colored and striped than males.” ([[6]]) The pouches of different seahorse species differ in complexity, showing a range of energy investment. Within this range, as the level of brood pouch complexity, or energy investment, increases, so does the frequency of sex role reversals.

--Wikiconcarne 23:20, 9 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Human Cognitive-Developmental Ethology[edit]

AN ETHOLOGICAL THEORY OF HUMAN LEARNING


A MODERN THEORY OF LEARNING, a cognitive-developmental, neo-Piagetian, ethological theory -- based on the methods of classical ethology


The perspective below is to orient one to basic cognitive-developmental human ethology and provide a research outlook for studies in that area.


This outlook, I believe, allows for continuous growth of knowledge in some basic areas of psychology. The heart or essence of it is "defining each behavior of interest in terms of the behaviors of the same organism surrounding it." This gives one a self-correcting mechanism in ones approach to understanding -- the most important contribution of classical ethology. Add to it the basic knowledge we have of emotions and emotional development and you can have an outline of a meaningful perspective on learning and meaningful concept of "learning".


An Ethological Conceptualization of Learning: Learning in terms of the interrelated development of basic capacities.


Every significant behavior change is now thought to involve learning. Learning and innate aspects of behavioral change are now conceived of as partners in the developmental and adaptational process (Gould and Marler, 1987). They are not even thought to be clearly separable at this point in our understanding of human behavior (Anastasi). Their partnership usually occurs in such an intimate and close time frame that they cannot be contrasted. With regard to the most significant behavior changes, such as stage shifts in cognitive abilities, one cannot see the great extent to which each is involved, and it is impossible to say which is most important: Is whatever "pre-wiring" we have most important or is it what's acquired -- that which involves interaction with the environment and at the same time between our basic "capacities" -- that's most prominent? These are serious questions. And so are the more detailed questions: What is the initial expression of the most important innate action patterns? When do innate action patterns appear? If they are not all present at birth (AND I BELIEVE THEY ARE NOT), how do they manifest themselves as they emerge during ontogeny? AND: What are the basic capacities (if any) that have relatively constant characteristics or similar interrelationships across development? Which types of capabilities most reflect that which is accrued via experience and with development and what is the nature of the changes undergone?

Learning, like other topics in psychology, concerns behaviors that have innate and species-specific characteristics. Learning is frequently said to be "constrained by innate factors," but as far as developmental questions are concerned, it is IN FACT DEFINED in large part by such factors (Johnston, 1981). And, as such, it is involved in all the most significant behavioral changes. Learning as a topic involves the most "microscopic" look at behaviors, in the wider discussion of processes of significant behavior change. Learning may be the most important topic by far, for environmentally-induced behavioral change certainly seems to be key to quality adaptation in all areas of responding.

Learning may be defined as changes in those adaptational processes susceptible to experience and due to changes in these processes occurring singly and/or in an interactive manner. There is no pure acquisition (reality does not just progressively impinge itself) and there are no arbitrary acquisitions. Acquisitions must be retained. Clearly there are innate and species-typical processes involved, and fortunately for the human behavioral sciences, general laws to be found.

It should not be surprising to find that it is impossible to discuss learning in any detail or with any generality without asking what basic processes are involved in the bit-by-bit behavioral acquisitions which characterize learning. How many types of processes are there and what are their basic natures? I will try to outline what I see as the basic types of processes, their basic character, and which aspects of the processes remain relatively constant and which change systematically, reflecting what in fact has been accrued.

First, the organism always has perceptual biases and response biases. These are interrelated and both change significantly during development.* These related processes precede [other] cognition and cognitive processes, including the major aspect of cognitive processing -- representation (to be discussed soon). The proper understanding of these processes (perception and response biases) can come only with proper definition. And, objective definition is obtained only when the environmental and behavioral context in which the important features of these processes occur have been specified. Behaviors (OF THE SAME ORGANISM) preceding and those following a behavior of concern must be identified. This will become more and more important with ontogeny and will be true of the other processes to be discussed as well.

In addition to having perceptual biases and response biases, in general, we have memory. Memory at first seems to be of the immediate and may thus be said to have just a short-term aspect. But with experience, the organism interacting in consistent manners with the environment will begin to respond to structure and systematic change in the environment. This shows recognition memory, and soon recall, both characteristics of long-term memory. This capacity, like short-term memory, is limited, BUT INDEPENDENTLY (Brainerd and Kingma, 1985). After some point, "processing space" for short-term memory little influences the processing characteristics of long-term memory, though it is also limited at any given stage of development (the matter of stages to be discussed soon).

This is not all that happens. New response characteristics emerge. As structures and occurrences are recognized, new aspects of stimuli are related or are related more consistently (i.e. reacted to in a "different way"). This is not arbitrary. This may be best viewed as determined by new "perceptual biases" and related response biases. The most significant perceptual shifts, I believe, are the first occurrence in, and that which sets into motion, a new developmental stage. Yet this kind of perceptual shift occurs only every so often with regard to any given set of related stimuli to which we respond (Fischer and Pipp, 1984). There are possibly as few as five stages of development in major response areas (Freud, 1965; Ginsburg and Opper, 1978; Jesness, 1985).** How are acquired behavioral adaptations guided in the mean time?


At this point we could type different sets of behavior and note the characteristics of their changes, BUT this would violate the standards we have set for objective definition of a behavior-of-concern. We will be better off considering the basic processes we already have and look for further features of these that determine behavior change. One factor has to do with the fact that development of long-term memory takes time. And, the way it develops may show phases. Most important: There are aspects of what we recall that are worth keeping conscious . Consciousness requires response time and uses the scarce resources of short-term memory and much affects other responding. I would say this phenomenon of consciousness occurs for either of two reasons: (1) Further stimuli which are novel or of different varieties must be noted (and possibly, eventually recalled) and these are related to things already remembered (recognized or recalled) OR (2) things to be remembered in much the same WAY as past experiences (already remembered) will be encountered (i.e. similar environmental structures will be encountered (Griffin, 1981)). (Some of (1) and (2) is probably related to the fact that some stimuli impinge on us via less salient sensory modalities or through less salient combinations of modalities. These aspects of stimulation could become conscious later yet may still be related to some basically similar type of relationship we know (and can remember) when it has been found through other modalities.) The aspect of long-term memory of which we are at times able to be conscious is a good broad definition of representation . The nature of representation will change much during development and some of that of which one is conscious as a child will become aspects of awareness or totally automatic in the older child or adult. We still must include these aspects in our understanding of representation. We now need to ask what phases there may be in the development of representation, this important aspect of long-term memory and the most important capacity in significant behavioral change involving experience.

First: In a given type of circumstance (or "set of circumstances") it may take time to usefully retain and represent all the necessary static and dynamic aspects of the situation. To say this in more reductionistic terms: It will take time for all the stimuli of different salience to occur a sufficient number of times, given our perceptual/response biases, and time for them to be responded to consistently . An entire phase of development within every stage could be related to such developments AND, as indicated before, such may well vary in timing somewhat based on the salience of sets of stimuli involved in different circumstances. Second: Next, one's attending (and responding) selectively to certain aspects of immediate situations (ultimately related to perceptual/response biases) eventually may allow one to relate new things separated in space and time. This is another characteristic of memory and retention and eventually of representation. The latter may show two aspects: (1) an ability to imagine sequences of occurrences (the more important ones often involving your own behaviors or potential behaviors) and (2) an ability to see similarities across circumstances (Lucariello and Nelson, 1985). These two reciprocal aspects of memory development and representation can result in there being a second phase during each major stage of cognitive development. This too, for adaptive reasons (and for adaptive purposes), takes time. I do not have the space to speculate on the details here. In any case, all changes in representation will be manifested by systematic alterations in perceptual/response characteristics.

Now, finally, I believe one must discuss stages. The processes of memory and perception and the response biases and differences in stimulus salience, all already discussed, cannot (I believe) account for the progressive, hierarchical nature of development (Bowlby, 1982). Development has some invariant stages (descriptively speaking) in which some problems involving representation cannot be understood or cannot be understood reliably. Furthermore, it is just such reliability or consistency which is necessary for the further development of long-term memory processes, including representation. How does one get such consistency, adaptively, AND what is the parsimonious outlook? My answer is that we have stages, defined by new perceptual/response biases, emerging during ontogeny. Such perceptual shifts within an adaptive behavioral complex can have powerful effects indeed, and especially so when it is proposed that the changes in learning also involve progressive memory developments (with phases). The perceptual biases, as indicated before, may differ from one set of related stimuli to another and thus the timing of stages may vary to a degree for different types of responses. It would also seem appropriate to look at this in terms of the timing of aspects of stages. Although what the "sets of related objects" are has not been well delineated and how the timing of developments may vary between them is not clear, there are indications of some common synchronies and some general (overall) stages seem to be defined by these (Corrigan, 1983). In any case, the perceptual biases trigger a series of effects, given some of the more consistent characteristics of memory, and these result in a new level of representation and consciousness of new problems. All this allows for another series of developmental changes, such as already described. It should be clear from the outline of ontogeny given above that a general principle applies to learning: Behavioral development involves selective adaptation and eventually consistency of response. A variety of experiences will, in the normal course of adaptation, all be encountered even as consistencies are found.

I believe one can point to two aspects of behavior (broadly speaking), spoken of above, that change most in their characteristics during development: (1) the set of perceptual/response biases operative and (2) the elaborateness and precision found in representation. The changes in these capacities are systematically related. A MAJOR CONSISTENCY throughout development seems to exist with respect to short-term memory. While this type of memory may vary with development by 20-30% in quantitative capacity in terms of the number of "chunks" that can be dealt with "deliberately" (increasing with development), this change does not seem tremendously significant (Case et al., 1982; Dempster, 1981). It is clearly not much that's most salient that we can process at one time even late in development. This is especially startling given the large quantitative differences over development in the detail we respond to and in the length of sequences of responses we exhibit. "Quantitative capacity" may be roughly synonymous with what's often viewed as "working memory", if this is defined as that that we are conscious of in a given situation and at a given moment. But this has little to do with information processing overall. There is always awareness beyond consciousness (in the narrow sense) in significant situations and much processing of long-term memory (some of this related to representation) occurs outside normal awareness.***

Other characteristics of memory change in a manner adaptively congruent with changes in perceptual/response biases and with the changing nature of representation during each stage or phase. These changes should have less specific effects on significant learning and should be of a less radical nature. These changes will be definable in terms of the effects they have on responding.

FOOTNOTES:

  • I would say at the outset that I use an unconventional definition

of "perceptual biases", but this would be misleading because I believe that modern conceptualizations of the field of perception are arbitrarily (unsystematically) constrained.

    • With reference to Piaget's theory, I should note that I consider his 2

phases of the Preoperational Period to be stages in the same significant sense as the S-M Period, the C-O Period and the F-O Period are stages.

      • Of course psychologists may develop awareness and consciousness of things not normally subject to such through unique and sustained observations. Obviously, much of this will be awareness, etc. of things as they are for the child during development and how this fits into the "bigger picture".

REFERENCES:

Anastasia, A. Heredity, environment, and the question "How?" Psychological Review , 65, 197-208.

Bowlby, John (1982). Attachment , 2nd ed. New York: Basic Books.

Brainerd, C.J. and Kingma, J. (1985). On the Independence of Short-Term Memory and Working Memory in Cognitive Development. Cognitive Psychology , 17, 210-247.

Case, R., Kurland, D.M., and Goldberg, J. (1982). Operational efficiency and the growth of short-term memory span. Jour. of Experimental Child Psychology , 33, 386-404.

Corrigan, R. (1983). The Development of Representational Skills. New Directions for Child Development , 21,51-64.

Dempster, F.N. (1981). Sources of Memory Span Differences. Psychological Bulletin , 89, 63-100.

Fischer, Kurt W. and Pipp, Sandra (1984). Processes of Cognitive Development: Optimal Level and Skill Acquisition. In: R. Sternberg, (Ed.), Mechanisms of Cognitive Development . New York: W.H. Freeman & Co.

Freud, Sigmund (1965). Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality. New York: Avon Books.

Ginsburg, H. and Opper, S. (1978). Piaget's theory of Intellectual development , 2nd ed., Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.

Gould, James L. and Marler, P. (1987). Learning by Instinct. Scientific American , January.

Griffin, Donald R. (1981). The Question of Animal Awareness . New York: Rockefeller Press.

Jesness, B. (1985). A Human Ethogram ... , Key Chapters and Sections. Indexed in Resources in Education, Nov.

Jesness, B. (1986). Info.-Processing Theories and Per- spectives on development ... . Indexed in Resources in Education, May.

    • THE LAST TWO SOURCES SHOULD BE READ TOGETHER.**

The author should be contacted for a few important editorial corrections. email me at braloj53@hotmail.com

Johnston, Timothy D. (1981). Contrasting Approaches to a Theory of Learning. The Behavioral and Brain Sciences , 4, 125-173.

Lucariello, J. and Nelson, K. (1985). Slot-Filler Categories as Memory Organizers for Young Children. Develop- mental Psychology , 21(2), 272-282.




For MUCH MORE on this method, perspective and approach see my larger papers Click THIS LINK http://cyberper.cnc.net/myLargePapers.htm to find out how to obtain them.

-- Lorlarson 11 Nov 2005


William Thorpe[edit]

User:Bendybendy has removed William Thorpe from Category:Ethologists. I was just doing category work in that category, so if this is correct or not correct, please help fix it.Pschemp | Talk 23:31, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

Looks like there is more than one William Thorpe. The link here should probably be fixed. Pschemp | Talk 04:25, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

This is the one: [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]
His full name apparently is William Homan Thorpe, a name that seems to be used for him everywhere, so the article should probably be William Homan Thorpe. Thanks for pointing out the mistake! - Samsara contrib talk 04:39, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

Fixing the lack of practical information[edit]

No resources were used in this spurt of ideas. The lack of practical information needs to be fixed. Using a search engine can help get information from real ethologists. For the moment, however, I suggest the following. Behavior is action and reaction. Actions are aligned with goals, whether the goals are cognitively derived (thanks to the cortex) or "natural". There are some common behaviors across animal species and hence some common goals. Both a human and a cat stretches and yawns, as do many other animals, however no plant has been observed to yawn to my knowledge. Perhaps the best way to go about presenting practical information would be to go through the evolutionary tree and discuss the common behaviors that each animal under animalia displays; hence, the common goals would also be a point of discussion. It is likely that such discussions will include terms from the biological evolution article and phrases such as "survival of the fit". If at some point in the tree it looks like a behavior is possessed by an entire phyla, the behavior will be discussed on the page for phyla instead of being repeatedly included on the individual species pages. Answering the four questions on the page at the moment seems like a good idea if implemented on each branch of the evolutionary tree. Comments? -- kanzure 13:37, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

Etology?[edit]

Am I the only one finding the Etology article a complete nonsense? I always thought that "Ethology" and "Etology" are synonyms. Secondly, I have very strong doubts that "e-" is a Greek word for "internet", as the article claims. However, English is not my first language, so I am putting this in question. In my opinion this needs a very fast clarification, because in some languages the name of ethology is written without "h" and this article could cause heavy misinterpretations. --Jakup r 17:02, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

I did a quick "Google research" and this may be the source: http://xbiz.com/news_piece.php?cat=2&id=9858 ("By definition, Etology is a noun defining the science of the Internet.") --Jakup r 17:07, 23 April 2006 (UTC)
PLEASE CONSIDER DELETION OF etology AS IT APPEARS TO BE A MARKETTING COINED NAME OF A COMPANY/WEBSITE. The etymology is fake. The name is composed of etos and the suffix. Not of e and the suffix. And in all Romance languages ethology is spelled etología, etologie, etc. Google shows many misspellings in English, probably due to translation from other languages.
It belongs only in a catalog of commercial names with pun flavor. Cf ethology and etiology. Jclerman 17:50, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

I'm no expert, and I've never posted on a discussion page, but shouldn't the top "ethology" section say "etymology"? It seems to more be discussing the origins of the word than the behavior of the animal of ethology. User:Cdubulous 11:04, 17 May 2007

Scope of list of ethologists[edit]

I added Robert Ardrey, since his book has inspired many to study ethology. I wonder if some other popular advocates of ethology, such as dog trainer Patricia B. McConnell, should be added as well. Such advocates will be the first and perhaps only exposure many people have to the field.

Ardrey, Robert (1966). The Territorial Imperative. New York: Atheneum. p. 390. 

--Coloradoauthor 23:49, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

sources[edit]

I don't see any sources cited in on this page. Why is that? --illumi 01:04, 27 February 2007 (UTC) In the animal world, the amount of energy that a given sex puts into the care of its offspring dictates the level at which it is able to decide on which partner is suitable for mating. The luxury of having the opposite sex audition for an opportunity to mate is earned through the responsibility of caring for the ensuing offspring. In the majority of terrestrial animals, the way that the reproductive social structure works is that males compete with each other in order to gain an opportunity to copulate with a female, who is the one that chooses the worthy sex partner. Once a sexual relationship is attained and the deed is done, the male usually then leaves the female to go off in search of another sexual encounter. The male need not worry about his progeny because while the male is out, prowling for a new mate, the female stays behind to care for the young.

When it comes to marine life, however, the roles between males and females become blurred. There is far more concern of the males for their offspring. Some species of fish guard the area where their eggs are kept. Some species of male fish even go as far as brooding the eggs in their own mouths. Nonetheless, no fish shows their determination for patriarchal care for their young as much as the seahorse, or class Syngnathidae. “During mating, the female transfers eggs into or onto specialized egg-brooding structures that are located on either the male's abdomen or its tail, where they are osmoregulated, aerated, and nourished by specially adapted structures.” (5) This physical and energetic commitment seriously warps any semblance of the idea of the sexual roles of males and females to the point of near perversion. As it may be concluded from this strange fact, because of this increased attention to offspring on the males behalf over the amount of energy expenditure that the females donate to their young, there must be a resulting role reversal in terms of the social interactions for sexual partner selection. In fact, for the most part, there is. As the role of parental care is switched from the female to male, so is the mating competition changed from male-male to female-female. This means that in this reversed situation, the females must compete against one another for an attempt to transfer her eggs into the male. Here the male is the determining factor in which female’s eggs get fertilized. Accompanying this new set of rules is the change in sexual dimorphism. “True to predictions…several species are sex-role reversed (e.g., Nerophis ophidion, Stigmatopora nigra, Syngnathus typhle), with females that are more vividly colored and striped than males.” (6) The pouches of different seahorse species differ in complexity, showing a range of energy investment. Within this range, as the level of brood pouch complexity, or energy investment, increases, so does the frequency of sex role reversals.

--Wikiconcarne 23:20, 9 Dec 2004 (UTC)


[edit] Human Cognitive-Developmental Ethology AN ETHOLOGICAL THEORY OF HUMAN LEARNING



A MODERN THEORY OF LEARNING, a cognitive-developmental, neo-Piagetian, ethological theory -- based on the methods of classical ethology


The perspective below is to orient one to basic cognitive-developmental human ethology and provide a research outlook for studies in that area.


This outlook, I believe, allows for continuous growth of knowledge in some basic areas of psychology. The heart or essence of it is "defining each behavior of interest in terms of the behaviors of the same organism surrounding it." This gives one a self-correcting mechanism in ones approach to understanding -- the most important contribution of classical ethology. Add to it the basic knowledge we have of emotions and emotional development and you can have an outline of a meaningful perspective on learning and meaningful concept of "learning".


An Ethological Conceptualization of Learning: Learning in terms of the interrelated development of basic capacities.


Every significant behavior change is now thought to involve learning. Learning and innate aspects of behavioral change are now conceived of as partners in the developmental and adaptational process (Gould and Marler, 1987). They are not even thought to be clearly separable at this point in our understanding of human behavior (Anastasi). Their partnership usually occurs in such an intimate and close time frame that they cannot be contrasted. With regard to the most significant behavior changes, such as stage shifts in cognitive abilities, one cannot see the great extent to which each is involved, and it is impossible to say which is most important: Is whatever "pre-wiring" we have most important or is it what's acquired -- that which involves interaction with the environment and at the same time between our basic "capacities" -- that's most prominent? These are serious questions. And so are the more detailed questions: What is the initial expression of the most important innate action patterns? When do innate action patterns appear? If they are not all present at birth (AND I BELIEVE THEY ARE NOT), how do they manifest themselves as they emerge during ontogeny? AND: What are the basic capacities (if any) that have relatively constant characteristics or similar interrelationships across development? Which types of capabilities most reflect that which is accrued via experience and with development and what is the nature of the changes undergone?

Learning, like other topics in psychology, concerns behaviors that have innate and species-specific characteristics. Learning is frequently said to be "constrained by innate factors," but as far as developmental questions are concerned, it is IN FACT DEFINED in large part by such factors (Johnston, 1981). And, as such, it is involved in all the most significant behavioral changes. Learning as a topic involves the most "microscopic" look at behaviors, in the wider discussion of processes of significant behavior change. Learning may be the most important topic by far, for environmentally-induced behavioral change certainly seems to be key to quality adaptation in all areas of responding.

Learning may be defined as changes in those adaptational processes susceptible to experience and due to changes in these processes occurring singly and/or in an interactive manner. There is no pure acquisition (reality does not just progressively impinge itself) and there are no arbitrary acquisitions. Acquisitions must be retained. Clearly there are innate and species-typical processes involved, and fortunately for the human behavioral sciences, general laws to be found.

It should not be surprising to find that it is impossible to discuss learning in any detail or with any generality without asking what basic processes are involved in the bit-by-bit behavioral acquisitions which characterize learning. How many types of processes are there and what are their basic natures? I will try to outline what I see as the basic types of processes, their basic character, and which aspects of the processes remain relatively constant and which change systematically, reflecting what in fact has been accrued.

First, the organism always has perceptual biases and response biases. These are interrelated and both change significantly during development.* These related processes precede [other] cognition and cognitive processes, including the major aspect of cognitive processing -- representation (to be discussed soon). The proper understanding of these processes (perception and response biases) can come only with proper definition. And, objective definition is obtained only when the environmental and behavioral context in which the important features of these processes occur have been specified. Behaviors (OF THE SAME ORGANISM) preceding and those following a behavior of concern must be identified. This will become more and more important with ontogeny and will be true of the other processes to be discussed as well.

In addition to having perceptual biases and response biases, in general, we have memory. Memory at first seems to be of the immediate and may thus be said to have just a short-term aspect. But with experience, the organism interacting in consistent manners with the environment will begin to respond to structure and systematic change in the environment. This shows recognition memory, and soon recall, both characteristics of long-term memory. This capacity, like short-term memory, is limited, BUT INDEPENDENTLY (Brainerd and Kingma, 1985). After some point, "processing space" for short-term memory little influences the processing characteristics of long-term memory, though it is also limited at any given stage of development (the matter of stages to be discussed soon).

This is not all that happens. New response characteristics emerge. As structures and occurrences are recognized, new aspects of stimuli are related or are related more consistently (i.e. reacted to in a "different way"). This is not arbitrary. This may be best viewed as determined by new "perceptual biases" and related response biases. The most significant perceptual shifts, I believe, are the first occurrence in, and that which sets into motion, a new developmental stage. Yet this kind of perceptual shift occurs only every so often with regard to any given set of related stimuli to which we respond (Fischer and Pipp, 1984). There are possibly as few as five stages of development in major response areas (Freud, 1965; Ginsburg and Opper, 1978; Jesness, 1985).** How are acquired behavioral adaptations guided in the mean time?


At this point we could type different sets of behavior and note the characteristics of their changes, BUT this would violate the standards we have set for objective definition of a behavior-of-concern. We will be better off considering the basic processes we already have and look for further features of these that determine behavior change. One factor has to do with the fact that development of long-term in other words

Major Update[edit]

  • Hi, I've performed a [| major mod] on the article. I have added many practical information, images and examples, although there is still much to be done. I'm not a native English speaker, and I was translating and partially merging from an exstensive and well-documented article I wrote on the subject in Italian, which I licensed via CC. There may be grammatical errors and/or some sentences with an unusual structure -- sorry, I did this quite in a hurry ;). Please revise it. It's looking better now, isn't it? --Outspan 11:25, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

Animal behavior vs. ethology[edit]

I don't think animal behavior should redirect here. It would be like redirecting animal to zoology. Ethology still deserves its own article, but animal behavior should be addressed separately. Richard001 01:05, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

I don't know, the two things are practically the same -- ethology is the scientific approach to the study of animal behavior so all the scientific facts should go under ethology. What would you put in animal behavior instead? -- Outspan [talk · contribs] 07:08, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Take a look at the Encyclopedia Britannica articles for example. They have a short one on ethology and a much larger one on animal behavior. Richard001 00:07, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Well I only use Italian encyclopedias ;) what's written in there? -- Outspan [talk · contribs] 07:05, 29 August 2007 (UTC)
Animal behavior (33 pages) Ethology (very brief). Richard001 08:18, 29 August 2007 (UTC)
It is definitely an error to have "Animal Learning" redirected here. Animal learning, as discussed in any introductory psychology textbook or in the scientific literature, is the study of basic principles of learning as independently of the species of animal being studied as possible. T. E. Whalen, 27 November 2007 —Preceding unsigned comment added by 142.92.60.20 (talk) 17:05, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
Agree, and Britannica has a expert written article on animal learning too if anyone needs some inspiration (they also seem to have a brand new one on animal behaviour, which is also pretty good). Redirecting animal learning/Learning here is no better than redirecting to learning, so the redirects are probably best deleted. I'm still sure separate articles are better. This one would discuss the history of ethology more and go into more details on methodology. It will be a bit of work to split them though, and as always there is a poverty of editors... Richard001 (talk) 09:32, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

Ethology, aetiology, etymology, entomology...[edit]

...or Lat. ethologia, ætiologia, etymologia, entomologia—don’t confuse them. I’ve just removed an incorrectly put out spelling aethology from this article, most certainly inspired by having confused the term with etiology, also known as aetiology.

Reference: Ethology (this), Etiology, Etymology, Entomology.

6birc, 18:36, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Hatnote[edit]

I removed the hatnote - they are designed to distinguish between possibly confused existing pages. Having a redlinked hatnote is unnecessary and silly. If the page existed for Animal Behavior (journal), a hatnote is an excellent idea, but it is not useful to navigate to a non-existent page. WLU (talk) 20:45, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Revenge[edit]

The article says: "Of course, not all behaviours are altruistic, as shown in the table below. Notably, revengeful behaviour is claimed to have been observed exclusively in Homo sapiens." Is this really true? I remember when I was a kid, my friend used to throw his cat around and really make it angry. When he left, the cat would take revenge by pissing on his bed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 161.45.5.250 (talk) 01:05, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

I have to agree, I actually used to have a cat that would claw the backs of your legs if you scolded it, the second you turned your back. Animals generally aren't maliciously revengeful the way many people seem to expect, but I have heard various accounts of other primates enganging in activities that were pretty clearly meant to be revenge. Wish I could remember where. But the sentence only states that revenge is "claimed" to be "observed" exclusively in H. sapiens, so it looks okay the way it is, at least for now. 97.104.210.67 (talk) 02:29, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
There is a documented story of a vengeful camel. Wapondaponda (talk) 03:05, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Article class change[edit]

I changed the class templates today to C class from Start class. This is clearly not a starting article though it has serious issues, not ready for B class. It uses a minimal number of sources and has limited citations of same. It appears that its organization could bear some attention and its at the point where redundant material could more easily be cut but the sourcing appears to be its biggest difficulty.Trilobitealive (talk) 03:07, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Notable ethologists without links[edit]

What is the reason for adding names to the list of notable ethologists without [[links]] ? I haven't checked all of them. But at least two seem to be just good narrow-specialized researches. Томми Нёрд (talk) 20:03, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Well, I agree, it's not something I'd do: but I guess it's an invitation to someone to write an article about them some day. seglea (talk) 20:15, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with File:Alex the Parrot.jpg[edit]

The image File:Alex the Parrot.jpg is used in this article under a claim of fair use, but it does not have an adequate explanation for why it meets the requirements for such images when used here. In particular, for each page the image is used on, it must have an explanation linking to that page which explains why it needs to be used on that page. Please check

  • That there is a non-free use rationale on the image's description page for the use in this article.
  • That this article is linked to from the image description page.

This is an automated notice by FairuseBot. For assistance on the image use policy, see Wikipedia:Media copyright questions. --09:21, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Good reference[edit]

Alcock, John (2003): A textbook history of animal behaviour. Animal Behaviour 65: 3–10. doi:10.1006/anbe.2002.2044

Traces the history of behavioral biology, from classical ethology to sociobiology and neuroethology. Dysmorodrepanis (talk) 01:33, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

I think there ought to be a book list and I have just added a book which looks as though it should be useful and fun. Budhen (talk) 11:21, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

Definition?[edit]

The introduction should state a formal definition of Ethology. I browsed to this article knowing nothing about what is ethology, and it is still unclear at the 50,000-foot level. 128.227.82.167 (talk) 14:53, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Heading text[edit]

Taxis[edit]

Taxis is one of the most important parts of ethology. It isn't mentioned once. Geo-taxis Chemo-taxis Photo-taxis Thigmo-taxis etc. Please rectify. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kaplani99 (talkcontribs) 21:29, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Clarification needed[edit]

My interest in ethology is John Bowlby's use of it to help understand human behavior concerning infant attachment. What degree of relationship exists between animals (especially mammals) and humans? I ask because some Attachment theorists are considering dropping Bowlby's use of ethology from their understanding of attachment. Margaret9mary (talk) 03:28, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

Releaser[edit]

I see releaser goes to a page on chemical signals. As it is such an important term for ethology, I would suggest that page becomes a disambig page, with links to releaser (chemistry) and releaser (ethology). Otherwise, we could just create the latter page for ethology. It's needed. Macdonald-ross (talk) 19:31, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

Replacing the Zoology template[edit]

As an ethologist, I feel that the article on Ethology deserves its own template rather than being considered as just a sub-branch of zoology. I have created an Ethology template (below) and I propose to replace the Zoology template with this. Any comments are welcome.


Category:Biology templates Category:Animal templates Talk:Ethology


DrChrissy (talk) 16:21, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

Definition of Ethology[edit]

Having worked in animal behaviour for over 20 years, I always thought that the definition of 'Ethology' included a component of the animal being in its natural environment. e.g.

The scientific study of animal behavior, especially as it occurs in a natural environment[12]

The study of animal behavior with emphasis on the behavioral patterns that occur in natural environments.[13]

The scientific and objective study of animal behavior especially under natural conditions[14]

My own behavioural work has usually involved farm, laboratory and zoo animals. The vast majority of these animals are not in their natural environments, (although it could be argued that because some of these animals exist only under these conditions, they ARE the natural conditions). I do not consider myself to be an ethologist but an animal behaviouralist. I propose that the definition in Ethology be changed to be more accurate. I would also like to propose that Animal Behaviour is listed as a seperate page rather than re-directed to Ethology.DrChrissy (talk) 16:47, 26 August 2012 (UTC)


Correct terminology[edit]

Is it correct to use 'newborns' in the following sentence in the article, or should it be 'newly-hatched'? A notable example of a releaser is the beak movements in many bird species performed by the newborns, which stimulates the mother's regurgitating process to feed her offspring.DrChrissy (talk) 18:06, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

I think you are absolutely right! Lova Falk talk 18:38, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

Imitation - is the example correct?[edit]

In the sub-section on 'Imitation' the example given is the widely reported washing of food by Japanese macaques. But, imitation is an exact replication of the behaviour performed by the demonstrating animals. My understanding is that this is NOT the case with the macaques. Rather, this is a good example of observational learning or emulation. DrChrissy (talk) 18:08, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

Ivan Pavlov[edit]

Should Ivan Pavlov be included on the list of ethologists? Almost all articles I have ever read on him begin something like 'Ivan Petrovich Pavlov was a famous Russian physiologist.' I am well aware of his ground breaking research on classical conditioning and I would not wish to take away any acknowledgement of his work in animal behaviour, but was he really an 'ethologist'? DrChrissy (talk) 16:03, 16 September 2012 (UTC)

I wondered the same thing, but underneath the header is the line: "People who have made notable contributions to ethology (many are comparative psychologists)" and then I decided he could be in the list. Also because he is in the WP cat. ethologists. However, it seems that the header needs to be changed. Lova Falk talk 17:22, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
Fair enough. I suspect my own use of the word 'ethology' and 'ethologist' differs quite markedly from that of many on here, but I get the feeling that raising the issue of 'naturalness of behaviour' would be a massive task that should have been discussed at the formation of the page. Thanks for you clarification. DrChrissy (talk) 17:43, 16 September 2012 (UTC)