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Animal Behaviour Essay

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Below is an essay on "Animal Behaviour" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Animal Behaviour
Ethology (from Greek: ethos, "character"; and -logia, "the study of") is the scientific study of animal behavior.   Although many naturalists have studied aspects of animal behavior throughout history, the modern discipline of ethology is generally considered to have begun during the 1930s with the work of Dutch biologist Nikolaas Tinbergen and Austrian biologists Konrad Lorenz and Karl von Frisch, joint winners of the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Ethology is a combination of laboratory and field science, with a strong relation to certain other disciplines such as neuroanatomy, ecology, and evolution. Ethologists are typically interested in a behavioral process rather than in a particular animal group, and often study one type of behavior (e.g. aggression) in a number of unrelated animals.

Brief History
First ethologists - pre-historic humans, studied behavior for practical purposes, prey behavior for hunting, examples - cave art, domestication - dogs, cats, ox, cattle, reindeer, horses, etc.
In the Middle Ages: Natural ethologists documented behavior as part of general biology of organisms,
  * Early 1900s - formal discipline-Due to work of 3 ethologists
  * K. Lorenz studied waterfowl and other organisms
  * N. Tinbergen studied gulls and other organisms
  * K. Von Frisch studied communication in bees
  * Late 1900s and early 2000 - modern studies of animal behavior

Descriptions of behavior
  * behavioral genetics
  * neurophysiology of behavior
  * sensory physiology
  * development of behavior
  * sociobiology
  * behavioral ecology

Causes of behavior
Proximate causation - immediate causes
  * Explains how behavior works - what stimulates behavior to occur
  * Study by measuring or describing the stimuli that elicit behavior
  * Internal stimuli - physiological events (hormones levels, nervous system)
  * External - environmental stimuli e.g. - changes in daylength
Ultimate causation...

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