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

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38
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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? ...
14
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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?
11
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1answer
254 views

Does the genetic expression of specific physical traits ever correlate to behaviour?

Over at skeptics, there were a couple questions asked as to the correlation of specific physical traits in relation to personality/behaviour. For instance, the simian line as well as red hair. Now, ...
8
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1answer
94 views

Predators faking to be not hungry?

I believe that there are predator/prey combinations where the prey can easily spot that the predator is not hungry and will not try to flee from it. I’m thinking, for example, of gazelles who will ...
7
votes
1answer
226 views

What is this crow eating, and is it a common part of the corvid diet?

Here's a picture (by Rob Curtis) of a crow carrying and eating the corpse of what looks a bit like a small hawk or falcon: Other pictures clearly show the crow is eating the dead bird. This image ...
7
votes
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 ...
7
votes
2answers
166 views

Is it possible for parasitic wasp to alter the behaviour of it's host after emerging from it?

I know that parasitic wasp larvae could live for a long time inside their alive host (eg. caterpillar), but I always thought that they kill the host when they eventually get out of it. But once I've ...
7
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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 ...
6
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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?
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 ...
6
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3answers
381 views

Why people like to see pornographic scenes, but do not feel the same about eating scenes?

This question may seem funny, but I think biology must have good answers. I think no more explanation is needed. I really thought about this and searched for an answer, but there is nothing yet. If ...
6
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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 ...
5
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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. ...
5
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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 ...
4
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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 ...
4
votes
1answer
184 views

Why would deers keep crossing a river full of crocodiles while some of them have been killed?

I recently watched a clip on Discovery Channel, where I saw deers crossing a river full of crocodiles, ignoring the fact that some of them would have been killed doing so. What could be an ...
4
votes
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
178 views

Zombie Ant Fungus?

Ophiocordyceps unilateralis is a parasitoidal fungus that alters the behavior of the infected. Source: Wiki page. How is the fungus able to alter the behavior of the infected to such specfic ...
3
votes
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?
3
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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 ...
3
votes
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
140 views

What is the biological basis for a human's ability to think clearly and be aware while “fighting/competing”?

I'm interested in learning more about the biological systems or hormones or parts of the brain that affect short term (<15 minutes) ability to concentrate attention on the task and be aware of the ...
3
votes
0answers
168 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: ...
3
votes
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.
2
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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?
2
votes
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 ...
2
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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 ...
2
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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 ...
2
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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 ...
2
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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. ...
2
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2answers
776 views

Is it possible that the recipient of a heart transplant would display some of the donor's personality traits, as if the heart has memories?

I've read somewhere that after a person has a heart transplant, it is possible that his/her attitude, action or behavior would change slightly or significantly, as though he/she possesses some aspects ...
2
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1answer
81 views

What does self-preservation stem from? [closed]

Self-preservation, or preservation anyway, probably happens throughout the animal kingdom, and perhaps through the plant kingdom as well (some plants/trees, apparently, produce chemicals to repel ...
2
votes
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 ...
2
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1answer
29 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 ...
2
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0answers
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 ...
2
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0answers
84 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 ...
1
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3answers
74 views

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 ...
1
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1answer
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 ...
1
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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?
1
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2answers
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 ...
1
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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 ...
1
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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, ...
1
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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 ...
1
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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 ...
1
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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 ...
1
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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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0answers
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 ...
1
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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?
1
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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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0answers
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 ...