Animal Behavior

ETHOLOGY - the study of animal behavior

A BEHAVIOR is an ACTION (or series of actions) performed in response to a STIMULUS

Studies include
HOW a behavior is triggered
WHY a behavior exists (what advantage)

Note02.gif (247 bytes) NATURAL SELECTION - process by which populations change in response to environment

Natural selection favors traits - or behaviors - that improve the likelihood of survival.

Examples: Burying food
Babies cry
Wolves howl What else?


LEARNING - the development of behaviors through experience

Conditioning (Pavlov's Dogs)
Trial and Error (Skinner Box)
Reasoning - using past experiences to solve new problems

*Only humans and some primates are capable of reasoning

IMPRINTING - learning that occurs during a specific period - Konrad Lorenz

Types of Behavior

Parental Care
Courtship Behavior
Migratory Behavior Territorial Behavior
Foraging Behavior
Defensive Behavior


Note02.gif (247 bytes) Innate Behavior: GENETICALLY BASED BEHAVIOR

Animals born with the behavior
Sometime called instincts
Reflexive behavior - grasping reflex

-- Type of innate behavior, occurs the same every time. Ex. Web spinning and nest building.

Note02.gif (247 bytes) Instinctive Behavior