- Slides: 13
Causes of behavior • Proximate Cause and Ultimate Cause • Proximate Cause – The trigger for the behavior. • Ultimate Cause – The evolutionary reason behind the behavior. • A Zebra is drinking at a water hole, it hears another zebra nearby make an alarm call. The Zebra immediately runs away. The proximate cause of the zebra running away would be the alarm call. But the ultimate cause for the zebra to run is survival. It is running away because it wants to survive. The alarm call is not the source of danger, but the alarm call alerts the zebra that danger, may be nearby and the lion can threaten the zebra's chance to survive.
Anthropomorphism – a challenge to studying animal behavior • Anthropomorphism occurs when we use human emotions or human traits to describe animals or living things incapable of human emotion. Ex: My dog is happy, he likes me. • What’s the problem? From a scientific perspective we can only describe what we see as behavior- dog wagging it’s tail or jumping up and down, barking, etc. we cannot possibly interpret the dogs emotion – we can’t really be certain that a dog is capable of emotion. • However……. anthropomorphic language is sometimes used to help us grasp a tough concept, and it is possible that there animals with some capability for emotion.
Categories of Animal Behaviors • • • Feeding Behavior Competitive Behavior Reproductive Behavior Communication Social Behavior Cyclic Behavior
Feeding Behavior • What types of behaviors make it more or less likely a given animal will be successful in it’s search for food. • Ex: Bird drops a snail from great heights to crack shell and get to food. • Optimality Hypothesis – animals tend to behave in a way that maximizes food gathering while minimizing effort and exposure to predators.
Competitive Behavior – usually based upon the “fight” for resources. • Aggressive Behavior • Territorial Behavior • Dominance Behavior
Reproductive Behavior • Sexual Selection – choosing a mate • Mating Systems – monogamy / polygamy • Parental Behavior – Parental investment
Communication • • Sight and sound – warning colors / mimicry Chemicals – Pheremones Touch – Language – written / spoken / grammar rules etc. (human)
Social Behavior • Social Groups • Alturism
Cyclic Behavior – often in response to cyclical changes in the environment. • Biological Rhythms – Nocturnal / diurnal. Hibernation • Migratory Behavior – periodic movement characteristic of a species.
Genes and Behavior • Innate Behaviors – Instincts (inherited) – Fixed action pattern • Learned Behavior – modification of behavior based upon experience – Habituation – Reasoning
4 Questions to ask when considering an animal’s behavior. • What causes the behavior? What is the stimulus that causes a response? • What is the role of genes in the behavior; and how does it develop during an individual’s lifetime? • What is the evolutionary history of the behavior? • How does the behavior affect the organism’s survival and reproduction?
Your task: • Pick a behavior category and begin “digging” find an animal or a specific example of that behavior and become an expert in that behavior……. . or at least as much of an expert as you can in the next 30 minutes. Take notes in your notebook and be able to share something of interest or value to the class on your chosen topic. If you reach a “dead end” start a new path. – – – Feeding behavior Competitive behavior Reproductive behavior Social behavior Cyclic behavior