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Introduction to Animal Behavior

Introduction to Animal Behavior

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Introduction to Animal Behavior

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  1. Introduction to Animal Behavior Why do they do that?

  2. Warm Up • Personification: Putting human characteristics onto animals to explain behavior • Youtube:

  3. Unit Map: Follow Along in your packet WHAT ARE YOU LEARNING? • Explain factors that serve to stimulate or discourage various types of animal behavior. • Recognize the normality curve of animal behavior.

  4. Know Understand Do! • Understand • Stimuli influence on behavior • How ethology has evolved Know • Types of Behavior • History of studying animal behavior • Do • Observe and interpret animal behaviors • Evaluate animal studies

  5. Key Learning: Animal Behavior • Unit EQ: How does animal behavior influence animal husbandry? Concept : Influence Lesson EQ: What can alter behavior ? Vocab Agnostic Concept : Types Lesson EQ: What are categories of behavior? Vocab Stimuli, Behavior, Ethology Concept : History Lesson EQ: How are animals studied for behavior? Vocab FAP, Skinner Box

  6. What is Animal Behavior? The study of how and whyanimals interact with each other (both within and among species) and their environment. Proximate questions - how mechanisms responsible for interactions Ultimate questions - why how these interactions influence an individual's survival and reproduction.

  7. Some examples: Intraspecificinteractions mate choice male competition alarm calls parental care

  8. Some examples: Interspecific interactions predation parasitism mutualism competition

  9. Some examples: Interactions with the environment foraging nest site selection signal modification

  10. Why study behavior? Possible first science: Our survival dependent on knowledge of other animals (prey/competitors/predators). Control/management of species: Food and game species, agricultural pests, invasive species, endangered species. Understanding/modification of our own behavior? Studies of how birds learn and develop songs provide unique insights into the development and neural control of speech in humans.

  11. Curiosity. Science for science’s sake. Achieve a better understanding of the species we share the Earth with. Almost any behavior performed by any animal may be interesting to study.

  12. History of the study of animal behavior Paleolithic art from 40,000+ years ago provide indirect evidence that primitive humans observed the behavior of animals. Cave paintings portray herding animals in groups, animal migration, certain predators hunting in packs, and solitary animals alone.

  13. Blurton-Jones (1976) documented Kalahari bushmen’s (!Kung) knowledge of animal behavior Hunter-gatherer society, similar to most of human’s history. - Discriminated data from theory - Developed hypotheses - Used reasoned skepticism

  14. Introduction • Why do animals do what they do? • Why do birds sing? • How do sea turtles navigate the ocean to lay their eggs on the same beach where they were hatched? • How do honeybees know when the hive needs more food? Image from Image from

  15. Introduction • Animal behavior asks what, why, and how. • Animal behavior is also referred to as ethology. • Scientists who study animal behavior are called ethologists. Image from

  16. Introduction • Animal behavior is centered around the ability to move. • Animals seek food, water, shelter. • Animals play with each other. • Animals seek mates. Image from

  17. Introduction • In order for an animal to move, it uses muscles. • So, in a way, we can think of animal behavior as being dependent on muscle movement. Image from

  18. Introduction • Behavior results as a reaction to a stimulus. • A stimulus is a detectable change in the animal’s internal or external environment. • Hunger. • Sound. • Pain. • Visual cues. • Hormonal changes. Image from

  19. What is really happening… • Lets watch! • As we watch, when the video pauses explain WHAT the animal is doing and WHY you think the animal is doing this • youtube.:

  20. Introduction • Ethologists do not attempt to describe WHY an animal does a behavior before describing WHAT the animal is doing. • This removes as much bias as possible – good scientists don’t want to just “see what they want to see”. • Need to make objective observations of animal behaviors, analyze the data statistically, then come to conclusions about WHY an animal behaves a certain way.

  21. Introduction • For example, you see two gophers interacting with each other, rolling and hopping around, running to and from each other. • As a behavioral ecologist, you would first state the behavior you are observing. • Once you made the observations about WHAT was happening, you could begin to determine WHY they are behaving that way.

  22. Introduction • The behavior you observed could have been many different things. • Play. • Mating rituals. • Aggression, defending territory.

  23. Movie Break! • Please get a piece of paper and copy the following: • ANSWER FOR EACH ANIMAL PRESENTED: • 1. What animal? • 2. Where is it commonly found? • 3. What is the “smart” behavior? • 4. Is this behavior (in your opinion) instinctual, learned, or other? • AT THE END OF THE VIDEO: • What animal do YOU believe is the smartest and why? (10 sentences)

  24. Video: World’s Smartest Animals

  25. Types of behaviors defined

  26. Pet Activity: Warm Up On a separate sheet of paper: • 1. Write the name of one of your pets. Is it a bird, dog, or cat? Other? • 2. What behaviors do you think about when you think of your pet? Give a list of behaviors. Indicate if the behavior was genetic “innate” or learned.

  27. Behavioral Ecology • Behavioral ecology emphasizes evolutionary hypothesis: science as a process • Based on expectation that animals behave in ways that will increase their Darwinian fitness (reproductive success)

  28. Stimuli : Review • Certain stimuli trigger innate behaviors called fixed action patterns • A fixed action pattern (FAP) is a highly stereotypical, innate behavior that continues to completion after initiation by an external stimulus

  29. Learning • Learning is experience based modification of behavior • Some learning is due mostly to inherent maturation • Habituation is learning involving loss of sensitivity to unimportant stimuli • Associative learning involves linking one stimulus with another

  30. Classical conditioning (Pavlov)

  31. Operant conditioning (Skinner)

  32. Operant Conditioning 􀂄 Animal learns to behave in a certain way through repeated practice 􀂄 Trial & error learning – animal tests conditions for desired response e.g. Skinner box 􀂉 Animal learns that a behavior gets a certain response 􀂄 e.g. rat presses lever, gets food

  33. Rhythmic Behaviors • Rhythmic behaviors synchronize an animal’s activities with daily and seasonal changes in the environment • Governed by endogenous clocks, which in turn require exogenous cues to keep the behavior properly timed with the external environment

  34. Foraging Behavior • Ecologists are using cost/benefit analysis to study foraging behavior • Species may be generalists or specialists as foragers • Animals modify behavior to favor a high ratio of energy intake to expenditure

  35. Social Behavior • Sociobiology places social behavior in evolutionary context

  36. Competitive Social Behaviors • Agonistic behavior: competitor gains advantage by getting a limited resource like food or a mate • Natural selection: survival of the fittest • “Pecking order”: dominance hierarchies with differently ranked individuals permitted options according to their status

  37. How natural selections leads to behavioral traits • Variation exists: fraction of the species T. elegans (garter snakes) had ability to recognize slugs by chemoreception • Increased fitness: That variation has higher chance to survive and reproduce (genes passed on) • Led to changes in the population over time

  38. Mating Behavior • Promiscuity – having many random mates • Monogamy – having only one mate • Polygamy – having a few, selected mates

  39. Mating behavior Promiscuous Strong bonds Monogamous (sex morphology similar) Polygamous Polyandry (dimorphic Larger, Showy males) • Factors influencing evolution of mating systems • Need of young • Paternity certainty • certainty increases with external fertilization Polygyny (dimorphic Larger, Showy females)

  40. Sexual selection • Sexual selection (selective pressure)  evolution of male behavior and anatomy • Stalked-eyed flies • Females more likely to mate with males with longer eyestalks • Why? Correlation between genetic disorders and inability to develop long eyestalks

  41. Social Interactions • Social interactions depend on diverse modes of communication • Some animals communicate with smells • Honeybees communicate through “dancing”

  42. Social learning • Experience involves observing others • Culture: information transfer through social learning • Vervet monkey alarm calls • Memes (Richard Dawkins)

  43. Altruistic Behavior • Inclusive fitness accounts for most altruistic behavior • Best explained by a “kin” theory, animals try to maintain the survival of others who share their genes

  44. Altruism • Cost/benefit of selfish vs. unselfish behavior? • Altruism reduces individual fitness but increases fitness of others

  45. Reciprocal altruism • Some animals behave altruistically toward others who are not relatives. A wolf may offer food to another wolf even though they share no kinship. • Such behavior can be adaptive if the aided individual returns the favor in the future. • This sort of exchange of aid is called reciprocal altruism. • Commonly used to explain altruism in humans.

  46. Agonistic behavior • Ritualized • Winner gains access to resources • Physical and behavioral characteristics involved • Usually harm is not done

  47. Reasoning • Analyze problem & devise solution using past experiences • Most Dogs? • E.g. No, can’t unwind leash from tree • Most Horses? • No • Primates? • YES!

  48. Sociobiology • Human sociobiology connects biology to the humanities and social sciences

  49. Sociobiology (E.O. Wilson) • Connects human culture to evolutionary theory • Social behaviors exist because they are perpetuated by natural selection • Does not mean all social behaviors are hardwired (nature vs. nurture)

  50. Self-quiz • Bees can see colors we cannot see and detect minute amounts of chemicals we cannot smell. But unlike many insects, bees cannot hear very well. Which of the following statements best fits into the perspective of behavioral ecology?