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Ecology of Behavior
What is behavior?
• Everything an animal does, and how/why he
does it.
• Nature vs. nurture is actually genetics vs.
environment
Genetic Components of Behavior
• Behavioral ecology emphasizes evolutionary
history.
– The reason a fish behaves that way is due to its
ancestors
– Humans too!
• Innate behaviors are genetic (flying, migrating)
• Pheromones
– Wasps Video
5 Types of Behavior
• Kinesis
– Reaction is erratic
• Taxis
– Reaction is directional
• Migration
• Animal signals and communication
– Physical, audible, chemical, electrical
• Mating and parental behavior
Example of Animal Signaling
Types of Learning
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Habituation
Spatial Learning
Cognitive Maps
Associate Learning
– Classical Conditioning
– Operant Conditioning
Example of Spatial Learning
Mating Systems
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Promiscuous
Monogamous
Polygamous
Polygny
Polyandry
The Mystery of Altruism
• Working for something that betters someone
else, rather than you.
• Evolutionary benefit or reflection of our
Creator?
• “Skeptics fear that evolutionary
interpretations of human behavior could be
used to justify the status quo in human
society, thus rationalizing current social
injustices”
Discussion
“In human affairs, we often explain our behavior in
terms of subjective feelings or motives or reasons;
but evolutionary explanations for behavior work in
terms of reproductive fitness. What is the
relationship between the two kinds of explanation?
For instance, is a human explanation for behavior,
such as “falling in love,” incompatible with an
evolutionary explanation? Does falling in love
become more meaningful or less meaningful (or
neither) if it has an evolutionary basis?”
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