Animal Behavior What is behavior? Humans have studied behavior since the dawn of man: Hunting Predator avoidance Animal fascination Behavioral ecology The control of behavior. The evolution, development, and contribution to survival and reproductive success. Ethology The study of animal behavior. Nobel prize laureates: Karl von Frisch Konrad Lorenz Niko Tinbergen Behavior is very complex and hard to study. Nature or Nurture? Is your behavior strictly from your experience? Is your behavior genetically regulated? Is it a combination of each? Successful strategies are a combination. Failure often leads to death. Selfish Gene? Is it possible that genes regulate behavior? Genes B and b BB, Bb, and bb The production of pheromones “tagged” ants, which were then killed. BB queens were routinely killed. Red Fire Ant (Solenopsis wagneri) Innate Behavior “Inborn” behaviors. Genetic Defensive Reflex: Tail flagging Raised snouts Jumping Kicking Dirt Fixed Action Pattern Innate, stereotyped behavior. Kitten pouncing on leaves. Baby birds begging for food. Warbler adult feeding cowbird baby. Releasers Stimuli that carry information between members of the same species. Adults and offspring. Competing individuals. Pheromones Classical Conditioning Reward Positive reinforcement Reinforcement increases the chances the activity will happen again. Punishment Negative reinforcement Increases the chances that the activity will not happen again. Imprinting Types of Behavior Orientation and Navigation Aggression Mating Behavior Altruism Orientation and Navigation Orientation and Navigation Aggression Animals often display aggressive acts towards one another. Aggression increases during times of stress. Types of Aggression Territoriality Types of Aggression Dominance Hierarchy Types of Aggression Cannibalism Mating Behavior Courtship rituals: Sexual selection Prevention of mating with a member of a different species. Mating systems Monogamy Polygamy Courtship Displays Courtship Displays Altruism “A concern for the welfare of others.” In animal behavior: Any action which reduces your fitness to increase the fitness of others. Kin Selection If you help others to have babies, and you don’t have any, shouldn’t this be “selected” out? Even helping out relatives passes on your genes. Is it better to be a loner? Advantages: Reduces competition for resources. Disadvantages: Your alone. Harder to find a mate. Loss of any benefit of living in a group. Group Living: Advantages More favorable surroundings. Better defense Enhanced reproductive success. Improved foraging efficiency. Improved learning. Group Living: Disadvantages Individuals deplete food supply. Spread of infections. “Magnet” for predators. Eusocial Behavior Forming a “biological society” Main aspects: 1. Cooperative care of young. 2. Overlapping generations. 3. Division of labor. Order Hymenoptera Classic example. Ants, bees, wasps. Communication is the key. Communication stimuli: Chemicals Sound Touch Vision That’s it! The study of animal society is difficult. Why is this? What can studying other animals tell us about ourselves? Should we study animals?
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