Careers - What is Animal Behavior? Animal behavior is the...

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What is Animal Behavior? Animal behavior is the scientific study of everything animals do, whether the animals are single-celled organisms, invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, or mammals. It involves investigating the relationship of animals to their physical environment as well as to other organisms, and includes such topics as how animals find and defend resources, avoid predators, choose mates and reproduce, and care for their young. People who study animal behavior are concerned with understanding the causes, functions, development, and evolution of behavior. The causes of behavior include both the external stimuli that affect behavior, and the internal hormonal and neural mechanisms that control behavior. The functions of behavior include its immediate effects on animals and its adaptive value in helping animals to survive or reproduce successfully in a particular environment. The development of behavior pertains to the ways in which behavior changes over the lifetime of an animal, and how these changes are affected by both genes and experience. The evolution of behavior relates to the origins of behavior patterns and how these change over generations. What education and/or training is needed for a career in animal behavior? Most scientists directly involved in animal behavior work in one of four broad fields: ethology, comparative psychology, behavioral ecology, or anthropology. These disciplines overlap greatly in their goals, interests, and methods. However, psychologists and ethologists are primarily concerned with the regulation and functions of behavior, whereas behavioral ecologists focus on how behavioral patterns relate to social and environmental conditions. Ethologists and behavioral ecologists usually are trained in departments of biology, zoology, ecology and evolution, entomology, wildlife, or other animal sciences. Most comparative psychologists are trained in psychology departments. Behaviorists specializing in the study of human behavior are usually trained in anthropology, psychology, or sociology departments. Some jobs in animal behavior require only a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. However, most careers in animal behavior require advanced degrees, sometimes a Master of Arts or of Science (MA., M.S.), but usually a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DV.M.). Earning advanced degrees requires a very good undergraduate background, a strong academic record, motivation, and hard work.
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Careers - What is Animal Behavior? Animal behavior is the...

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