The set of actions performed by an organism within a given environment

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Are domesticated animals really “more intelligent,” or is that a myth/misunderstanding?

Often do I hear people speaking of how the domestic house cats are more friendly, less ferocious, less savage-like, and smarter and/or than their distinct but equivalent feline-species friends, like ...
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1answer
28 views

Why do some animals try to imitate other animals?

There is a tendency of some animals (including people!) to be "copy-cats" and try to imitate members of their own, and sometimes other, species. The most obvious example is a parrot copying human ...
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29 views

Why not use non-visual self-recognition to test for consciousness in an organism?

Background A well-known test for consciousness in an organism is to observe its ability to recognise itself in a mirror (see wikipedia article: "Mirror test"). Question Why haven't I come across a ...
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29 views

What is the biological basis of “energy” that extraverted humans draw from social engagements and introverts expend?

This question is related to this question about introverts becoming exhausted after extended social events on cognitive sciences stack exchange. As I read more on the topic of human ...
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16 views

When birds fly in V-formation, how is it decided which bird gets to be the 'lead bird'?

I've read on Wikipedia and in other sources that the lead position alternates due to flight fatigue, but does it alternate between a small cabal of of leadership birds, or does (almost) every bird get ...
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1answer
39 views

Why do chameleons move back and forth?

I was always curious, why do chameleons have this strange gait?
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2answers
38 views

Animal swimming styles

Can a frog swim on its back, or it can use only the classic frog style? Does any (not specifically marine) animal exist with many different swimming styles, just like humans?
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30 views

Do animals have social status as humans in our society?

As our society and it's functioning is closely related to the ones of animals, one question arises: Do animals in nature have social status as humans? People often display it publicly, by buying nice ...
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1answer
62 views

Book-recommendation: Ethology

I am looking for a book that covers the following topics in ethology: Behaviour Sensory filtering, reponsive-ness, sign stimuli, learning and memory, instinct, habituation, conditioning, ...
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1answer
84 views

Why do baby mammals tend to play?

Why do babies of any mammal tend to play ? From humans to small dog pups, cubs of a lion, baby bears, etc. *I am not sure if the tag I chose is correct or not. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
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53 views

Can mosquitos bite in self-defense?

When chasing away wasps or bees thee is a danger of them stinging us in self-defense. Can a similar danger arise when chasing away a mosquito which is otherwise not hungry? I understand that ...
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2answers
7k views

Do ants or other insects sleep, and if so why?

I was thinking yesterday about insects (as there was a spider in the house, and I couldn't help but think of anything else, even though they aren't insects), and I started to wonder if ants sleep? ...
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32 views

Why aren't whales more wary of boats? [closed]

Whales of many species were hunted to near extinction in human memory, and in whale memory too. I'd imagine that some whales took no notice of boats, and others tended to avoid them, so that hunting ...
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2answers
126 views

Is greed an evolved trait?

Thanks for looking. I am not a biologist, but I am fascinated by evolution. I was watching the news this morning and, as so often is the case, there was a news story about a corrupt politician who ...
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1answer
28 views

Pollinator mating system in orchids

I came across three terms in an article on pseudocopulation. However I don't quite understand what it means. They are: 1) solitary and haplodiploid 2) social and haplodiploid 3) diploid These ...
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2answers
66 views

What does this Barbary Macaque facial expression mean?

A girl pretended having a piece of food in her hand and pointed it to a Barbary Macaque in Gibraltar. As a response he made this facial expression to her. What does this mean?
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2answers
544 views

Animal altruism?

My first impression of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za4uT1ob8qE is that the baboons were being altruistic and benevolent, but is this guess proven or affirmed by science? I sense there's more to ...
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1answer
57 views

How to measure trajectory regularity?

I have two animal running trajectories. A regular one with repeated back and forth running between point A and B, like the one on top in the figure. The other one is very irregular, animal paused and ...
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1answer
27 views

Book recommendation on mammal (or just primate) behaviour, especially in relation to child-rearing

I have a growing frustration with the lows 'new-age' parenting is reaching, along with asininity of so much of our public schools' (and summer camps') philosophies and policies in relation to our ...
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0answers
167 views

What “emotions” can a snake feel?

Short: Thinking in particular of a Royal Python (US: Ball Python) such as some people keep as exotic companion animals, what sorts of "emotions" or "feelings" are they capable of? Long: ...
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83 views

Are insects attracted to near infrared light?

Do insects see near infrared light? If yes, are they attracted to it at night, as they are to visible light sources? I am building something similar to a home-made trailcam with a Raspberry Pi ...
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3answers
146 views

Theoretically, is domestication of (virtually) any animal possible?

Looking at ones that manage well alongside us human animals, such as dogs and cats, we see that this is possible for evolved, distant animals to have heritable, preferable traits around people. ...
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1answer
138 views

Why do flies fly in circles?

Lying on my bed, doing nothing I recently noticed flies usually fly in small circles, right under my ceiling lamp. Worth noting - the lamp was off as it was middle of a day. And those flies kept ...
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48 views

Solunar theory of animal activity

Solunar theory, which states that animal activity in wild (fishes, deer) depends on position of sun and moon in sky. Based on the solunar calender, hunters seek for optimal time for hunting fishes. ...
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1answer
63 views

Is there a hormone combination that makes humans grumpy?

Imagine a typical situation that is likely to give rise to a bad temper within an individual: a person is awoken very early in the morning by a sound of a lawn being mowed next door. Unlike expected ...
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83 views

Is there an evolutionary explanation for depression?

Evolutionarily speaking, depression (both clinical depression and temporary sadness) is a curious phenomenon. Since being depressed is likely to increase the chance of a person with it to commit ...
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1answer
50 views

What happens to human dopaminergic reward system once a teenager becomes adult?

I've recently heard a podcast which explained teenage impulsivity and novelty seeking in part by "Lowering the baseline dopamine activity in the reward system" "Increase in dopaminergic reward in ...
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1answer
69 views

Do insomniacs yawn?

According to wikipedia, the jury is still out on the function a yawn serves. The article referenced above however writes to say Yawning most often occurs in adults immediately before and after ...
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1answer
41 views

psychological database with sequenced DNA records

I'm looking for an epigenetic database which includes for each example the psychological history of the persons DNA. Right now I can only find DNA and epigenetic databases. Sadly none of the databases ...
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0answers
19 views

Why do we yawn seeing others yawn [duplicate]

If I see another person yawning, I definitely feel to yawn. Why is that so? What are the activities that happen in our brain which tell us to yawn?
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2answers
643 views

Are humans an eusocial species?

In the evolution of sociality among animals, different degrees are acknowledged. Some species present overlapping generations, some division of labor, and the minority present reproductive division. ...
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1answer
94 views

Current human behavior as a genetic heritage

People: I have doubts about genetic heritage, but let me explain the context which has shown up this doubt for you: I was debating about sexism and the following question were put on the discussion: ...
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4answers
297 views

How come most animals never seem to evolve over millenia?

People often say, including those with extensive knowledge in biology, that a certain species of animal will evolve in one way or another: 1.From changing environments. 2.Mutations. 3.Possibly even ...
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2answers
122 views

Chills down the spine with certain music?

I am sure many of us know the feeling of that tingling chill down our spines when listening to certain music. I experienced this most when my younger brother played an emotional piano piece for a ...
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2answers
179 views

Do animals suffer from “Human” mental disorders?

It is tragic, but apparently Killer whales and Dolphins can commit suicide too (e.g. here)... This suggests they can become depressed. I wondered whether they were "clinically" depressed like many ...
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1answer
89 views

Could murder be modeled as an infectious disease?

Background "When swine flu hit the population it spiked in certain areas and tapered off in neighboring regions, it hits hardest where people have least protection and this pattern is more ...
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1answer
149 views

What are the universal laws of Nature concerning animals' behaviour? [closed]

I'm looking for very old (centuries) treaty or recent (20 & 21th century) research that state what some of the laws of Nature are, particularly concerning wild animals' behaviour. Such as; every ...
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2answers
205 views

Is love biologically useful?

I thought about this statement a while ago: Natural selection sucks, it says those who love too much (or too many) will die the easiest and fastest. Sad but true. Only family (biologically of ...
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0answers
31 views

How did specialized nerve-based behaviors emerge in organisms? [closed]

There are quite a lot of diversity in behaviors of animals and lesser organisms, like mating, hunting, feeding, hiding and avoiding predators. At the same time I know that many hormones like ...
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1answer
115 views

Do insects respond to the detection of dead insects?

Are there insects that change their behavior upon detecting the nearby presence of other dead insects? If there are, can you provide an example?
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2answers
506 views

Goats are so fearless but sheep are not. Is there any genetic difference responsible?

As you see in the picture goats (not only wild goats) are so fearless, but I never saw any sheep do this. What is the source of this difference in behavior?
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1answer
97 views

Is there an instinct-driven body language for birds?

Over the last year or so, I've been observing house sparrows, because they are so prevalent in the northeast US cities. I noticed that a lot of sparrows, even in different cities seem to have very ...
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3answers
231 views

Is recognizing one's own mirror reflection a valid test of animal intelligence/self awareness?

I've been looking at this Ted talk on interspecies internet, and it appears that they have selected a small number of species of animals (dolphin, elephant, and some ape(?)) and are intent on ...
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1answer
110 views

In the context of twin studies, what do 'unique environmental factors' and 'shared environmental factors' refer to?

I was reading this study on sexual behavior and they refer to both terms without clarification. Does 'unique environmental factors' refer only to the prenatal environment or does it include individual ...
6
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1answer
5k views

Why can cats interpret things on a monitor/tv, but dogs cannot?

E.g. you can see a lot of videos where cats are smashing some mouse or spider on an ipad, but I have never seen it with a dog. I have a dog myself and I know that he sometimes responds to the sounds ...
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1answer
100 views

Are humans more aggressive during a full moon? [closed]

Is it true that we are more agressive during the night when there is a full moon? If true, could this be a remnant from times where we needed to hunt for our food and so could see more at night when ...
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2answers
6k views

Why do dogs try to cover their poop?

It may seem obvious to us humans to hide our excreta, but this is not quite normal behavior for animals. Interestingly, dogs have the habit to pee all over the place. It's know that they do so to ...
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1answer
548 views

Why is yawning contagious?

Why does yawning seems to be contagious? Is this similar to laughter being contagious or does it has a different reason?
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67 views

Why do animals sleep [duplicate]

Animals spend a good portion of every day doing nothing, and it seems like that time could be better spent hunting, searching for mates, etc. Also, animals are not aware during sleep, so it would be ...
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1answer
142 views

Are ape communities more “anarchist” or “communist” in structure?

I am using these terms because we can imagine them quite good, I guess ;) By "anarchist" I mean that the ape wants to live without the rule of others apes(same biological race or other) and he pursue ...