Chapter 34 - Animal Behavior

Behavior - An action or series of actions performed in response to a stimuli

Ethology - the study of animal behavior

Studies of behavior include:

HOW is a behavior triggered or performed
WHY does a behavior occur, what evolutionary processes are at work

Innate Behavior: genetically based, animals are born with the ability to perform behavior (sometimes we call these instincts)

Learned Behavior- the development of behaviors through experience

Types of learning

Classical Conditioning
(Pavlov's dogs)
Operant Conditioning (Skinner box)
Insight Learning (Reasoning, only found in intelligent animals, primates)

Imprinting: birds are geneticaly programmed to follow the first thing they see when they hatch (usually mom)

Animal Communication

Dogs give several nonverbal cues to communicate with other dogs (and humans)

dog afraidThis dog might look mean, but notice the tail between the legs, he's actually frightened and may bite out of fear

dog aggressive This dog is acting agressively, maybe to tell another dog or a human who's boss

dog alert This dog is alert and attentive.

dog intimidated This dog is being submissive, ears are down tail is between the legs

dog playing This dog is lowering the front of his body, this is usually an invitation to play (called a play bow)

dog submissiveThis dog is in an extreme submissive position, exposing his belly to the dominant dog in the pack.

Primate Communication

Primates can communicate basic concepts but humans are the only animals with a true LANGUAGE

Language is learned in humans by trial-and-error. Babies "babble" and parents reinforce meaningful words. As language develops, humans learn to rearrange words and symbols to mean different things.

Bird Imprinting

Birds hatch and follow the first thing they see, this behavior is both innate and learned.

Patterns of Behavior

Behavior Cycles

1. Migration - movement of a group
2. Circadian rhythms - sleep and waking patterns

Social Behavior

Animals that live in groups have structure and "rules". Examples: chimpanzee troops, insect colonies, wolf packs, humans

Competition - occurs between animals over resources (space, food, water, mates) and includes territorial behavior