Jan15n17anbhPOST - I Introduction to the Course II Animal...

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I. Introduction to the Course II. Animal Behavior as a Discipline A. Why We Study Animal Behavior B. 3 Important People III. Phases of The Scientific Method IV. Evolution and Natural Selection, Introd.
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Who shouldn’t be here? Those who have already taken Ethology (BIOL 4474) or a very similar course. Those who strongly doubt their ability to drag their a** to cla** at 8am. May I respectfully suggest dual alarm clocks? Seriously.
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What I’ll do to make the 8 o’clock hour worthwhile Yell and pace a lot Use your names (please bring your nametags every day; seriously) Show cool video clips Talk about cool animal behaviors
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Why should people study animal behavior? To better understand people Preserve endangered animals They’re interesting Pesticides (economic reasons)
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Animal Behavior: the study of behavior across species . It encompasses (or can be equated with) several fields, such as comparative psychology, ethology, and behavioral ecology.
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Key people: Nikolaas Tinbergen, Konrad Lorenz, and Otto von Frisch. These 3 shared the Nobel Prize in 1973. Each of them had a lifetime of work in ethology—the study of the behavior of animals in their natural environment. Lorenz known for bee dancing study
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The Scientific Method: “OHPTEC” Observe. Have a detailed and careful observation of a particular behavior. Hypothesize. Formulate alternate hypotheses about why the animal performs behavior X in condition Y. Predict. Make testable predictions to distinguish between the alternate hypotheses.
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Test. Design a study to see if your predictions are correct. Evaluate. Use statistics to evaluate the results. Which differences between groups are statistically significant? Conclude. Be critical! What exactly do the results of the experiment show? Are there other plausible explanations?
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Even the simplest observational study can be approached scientifically… O: I see one gray squirrel chasing another one. H: This behavior is a way gray squirrels defend a specific resource [e.g. food]; it is not play or territory defense. P: Chases begin at or very near to [<10 yards] food, and rarely occur away from food. T: Could set up a large yard with piles of food at each of the corners; record where chases take place within the yard.
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The Scientific Method in Animal Behavior: the Good and Bad Good : Some of the early ethologists, and modern animal behaviorists, have carried out wonderfully elegant experiments, focusing on behavior alone, or behavior + physiology Bad : Questions about WHY a behavior exists can be difficult (but not impossible) to test. Our textbook author tends to fall in love with evolutionary explanations for why behaviors exist, even if the explanations haven’t been fully tested
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