August 29th; Introduction

Four videos shown to make observations on animal behavior.

  • Ants: They seemed to be fighting, maybe for the food that was scattered around them or territory. Their actions seemed aggressive.
  • Seal: The seals were using vocal ques to ward of another seal. This seemed to be a non- physical aggression and territorialism.
  • Bees: One bee was vibrating and moving around as other bees surrounded it. This seemed to be a form of communication
  • Spider: The spiders were twitching their legs and making loud noises as a display.

Questions on these videos:

Why were the ants acting in this fashion? Why were some of the ants just watching the others fight?

How were the ants interacting? Are they trying to harm, communicate, or something else?

Do hormones influence this behavior?

The broaden nature of these questions can help us think about animal behavior in a different way.

We can think of Animal Behavior as being causes by the lessons we learned in previous courses, such as:

Physiology, Cellular/Molecular, Genetics, Development, Evolution, and Ecology.

Remember Ecology is the scientific study of behavior among organisms and their environment.

Natural Selection: Results in adaptations

Adaptative Evolution occurs if three conditions are met:

Phynotypic Variation is present, The traits are heritable, and the traits increase fitness.

Fitness can be thought as a relative term. That is Fitness is the ability to survive and repoduce compared to that of other individuals in your population.

*Populations are groups of individuals of the same species*

The number of offspring you produce compared to the number of offspring other individuals in the population produced determins your fitness.

There are times that genetics have a greater influence on phenotypic variations, and other times environment have the greater influence.

BUT  every phenotypic trait is a combination of gentics and environment.

All evolution is not adaptive evolution, and not all behaviors are benefitial.

Evolution: The change in the genetic make up of a population overtime

Individuals do not evolve, Populations Evolve

A behavior is not a single genetic trait.

An organisms is not “perfectly adapted” to their environment because:

the environments shift, the genetic constraints in a population, gene flow, and ecological trade offs


Lions killing cubs and Langurs killing infants.

The qestions we ask: Why are these adults killing the young?

Using the scientific method we can investigate this.

Humans often give animals emotions. Animals do not process events in the same ways as human beings and cannot be assumed that their doing is not based off of emotion.



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