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Questions tagged [behaviour]

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

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Why are mules/donkeys aggressive when faced with predators but horses are not?

I came upon an interesting quote after going down the rabbit hole on a variety of subjects. While deep in the data, I came upon this quote oat and farm animal owners likes to have mules with their ...
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Do non-human primates have mental disorders like humans?

I was at the zoo today and watched a gorilla pick at a scab on its finger, compulsively, until it started bleeding. Is this OCD or is it just a nervous thing that non-human primates do at the zoo? Do ...
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Do orcas react differently to swimmers in orca-like dresses?

Question on animal behaviour. This video shows the trainers of the orcas in swimming pool with them. Why do they use orca-like dresses? Is it just for the show, or do orcas then treat them more ...
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Identifying a mysterious bird in the writings of Hebrew prophet Jeremiah

In Jeremiah 17:11, the verse states: קֹרֵ֤א דָגַר֙ וְלֹ֣א יָלָ֔ד עֹ֥שֶׂה עֹ֖שֶׁר וְלֹ֣א בְמִשְׁפָּ֑ט בַּחֲצִ֤י ימו [יָמָיו֙] יַעַזְבֶ֔נּוּ וּבְאַחֲרִית֖וֹ יִהְיֶ֥ה נָבָֽל׃ Like a 'korei' ...
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Why do fruit flies go so close to large reservoirs of liquid when they are likely to fall in due to surface tension?

I had accidentally left out half a glass of red wine by the windowsill when I went to sleep. As anyone knows, if you do this with a window cracked you will get quite a few fruit flies near it in that ...
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Is there animal other than human that can recognize distal causes?

We know animals can recognize proximate causes. For example, if animal A hits animal B and injures it then usually animal B is able to associate animal A with his injury. From our everyday experience ...
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Has an ape ever drawn/painted something?

I know there are plenty of examples of apes making paintings and drawings, but has there ever been a recorded case of one representing something in their art?
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Is feeding birds only after a snowstorm helpful or harmful?

We had a very rare snowstorm here which left the ground covered in 8" of snow and trees covered in snow and ice. It'll likely all melt away in the coming days as we have sunny days and temps rise ...
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115 views

Why don't intelligent animals like primates use plastic bags? [duplicate]

I'll be honest here. Although this is a serious question, what made me wonder about it is this comic from Wumo: This question is not specific to monkeys. It applies to animals that live with or ...
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How much of human's behaviors and preference can be explained by evolution? [closed]

I'm talking about things like the tendency to feel sleepy after eating, avoidance of excrements, general preference for sweet foods, etc. Do all those characteristics have biological or evolutionary ...
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How exactly do birds get drunk eating fruit? Fermentation should be anaerobic

The Washington Post article Drunk birds are causing havoc in a Minnesota town. Police say they’ll sober up soon. describes birds becoming intoxicated after eating berries: “The Gilbert Police ...
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How can skull size difference alone explain behavioral differences using evolutionary theory?

I just started Robert Sapolsky lectures series on Youtube on Human behavior biology, and on the second lecture, at this point, he is explaining how evolutionary biology can be used to predict lots of ...
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Why ravens play with garbage?

Why ravens play with small plastic details and other garbage? Could you explain how this behavior was formed by evolution for birds-scavengers?
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Why do (some) cats chase their own tail?

Is this just playful behaviour or are they unaware that it's their own body part ?
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Honeybee relatedness: workers and nephews

This is my first question on this site. If anyone could help me get to the bottom of it, I would be very grateful. I am currently working on a lecture on kinship in animals. It goes without saying, ...
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How do insects recognize their host plants?

Many insects, like butterflies have specific host plants on which they feed or lay eggs. While researching about some butterflies, I found that they lay their eggs on certain specific plants and their ...
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Birds brewing beer?

There is a slight bend in the rain gutter next to my window. Over the last 4 years, I observed birds (ravens, magpies and newly doves) to dip their beaks in. I observed ravens to dip what I think was ...
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Are wasps attracted to UV light emissions?

I remember seeing a documentary where it was shown that bees and wasps are attracted to UV components of a flower colour (please correct me if I am wrong). Does this mean that they could be attracted ...
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Efficacy of sonic kangaroo deterrents

Bender (2003) tested the efficacy of sonic kangaroo deterrents. Their device is static (and apparently ineffective). Has there been any rigorous testing of the whistle-like 'kangaroo deterrent' ...
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37 views

Abrupt movements of birds and reptiles vs. smooth movements of mammals

How can it be explained (in evolutionary and/or neuronal terms), that the spontaneous movements of birds and reptiles are seemingly "abrupt" and not so "smooth": Their spontaneous movements seem to ...
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possibly unusual spider behavior?

In Cambridge UK there is this spider: I know not what species but it is common - I think they look good. But look at this behavior. What are they doing? I thought malting but do spiders do that? Why ...
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What do groundhogs and other subsurface-tunnel dwelling creatures do in heavy rains to avoid harm?

I notice groundhogs and many other tunneling creatures in my yard, the same yard which became pretty flooded during heavy rainfall. I don't see wildlife out during rain storms, but not long after, ...
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Is it possible to guide animals to a new breeding ground?

(This is a question for a book I'm working on.) One of the threats to some animal species is the disappearance of breeding grounds (because of the spreading human population, or for example because ...
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131 views

Do cows chew in a preferential chirality?

One of the enduring myths in molecular physics, when talking about chirality as pertains the existence of enantiomers and the differences between them, is that the way cows chew is also chiral, i.e. ...
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63 views

Factors That Would Promote Eusocial Development In Mammals?

What would cause mammals to evolve to be more eusocial, like the naked mole rat did? What advantages does eusociality give in such scenarios?
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Hamilton's rule: When to change the equation?

So, in class, my teacher gave two examples of using hamilton's rule. Let b= 4 and c=2.5. The first was whether altruism would evolve between two diploid full siblings given these values. Since r=1/2, ...
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Does the repellence of an insecticide affect its efficacy (measured in insect mortality)?

I am currently working on assessing the efficacy of a suspected insecticide on a particular species of insect. I happen to be looking into any repellence caused by the substance. I test for both ...
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What are these four large snails doing?

Hiking in some hills near Taipei after a rain, I saw lots of large snails out and about. Here "large" means the shells are say 8 cm long, and the snail itself fully stretched out 10 to 15 cm perhaps. ...
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139 views

What advantages do birds gain when they mimic other bird species calls in the wild?

I've read that birds such as crows and blue jays often mimic other bird species calls. There seems to be evidence that birds do learn and react to other bird species calls, specifically when they ...
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Aside from Homo Sapiens, do the males of any other species care for the offspring of those unrelated to them?

Elsewhere I heard that male Long-tailed Tits will care the offspring of their brother if they're unable to have their own. However, I'd like to know if there is a case of such behavior where the two ...
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137 views

Do hornets remember and recognize a human? Do they have any (kind of) memory?

hornetology So it happens that a hornet (vespa crabro) flew inside my house today and now is being held in a plastic container (I made some holes to let it breathe). But it also happens not just this ...
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Why would a bumblebee regularly hover over a arborvitae hedge?

I have observed bumblebees hover over an a abrborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) hedge. A bumblebee will hover in a in one spot over the hedge for about 5-7 seconds, zip to another spot, hover for about 5-...
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Are opposite sexes as obvious to other animals as they are to humans?

So I'm not very good at biology, but something I wondered while being outside and looking at animals is that they were (for me) hard to tell apart by sex. However, when I look at someone, usually I am ...
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Stems sticking out of soil

In the gaps in my stone path there are several places where there are a group of thin plant stems sticking out of the ground, usually among a pile of smaller stones. I suspect the action of earthworms....
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Does human behaviour that is caused by inheritance depend on the environment and lifestyle in general?

Different breeds of common domesticated animals such as horses and dogs clearly show different behaviour, instincts, social relationships and similar, due to their biological inheritance. Still they ...
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Do mosquitos excrete blood?

Since insects like mosquitos ingest only blood, and insects generally excrete their solid and liquid waste at the same time as frass, I was wondering: is mosquito defecation more like iron pellets or ...
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What to do if someone breaks a bone?

What is the best first aid someone an do in events of fractures? I am sports physician - just wondering if there is a specific certification for something like this. thanks
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How fast animals habituate to wearing shoes

You probably have seen hilarious videos of dogs wearing shoes for the first time. Animals usually very uncomfortable and try to "shake it off", as they seem to consider shoes be some sort of sticky ...
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Does imprinting occur at different life stages?

For example, consider the offspring of a bird species. Can offspring get imprinted by other individuals of the same population at various life stages (e.g., hatchling, nestling, fledgeling, juvenile)? ...
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Why ambidextrous persons are so rare?

According to this article, only about 1% of all humans are ambidextrous: About 90 percent of people are right-handed, says Corballis. The remaining 10 percent are either left-handed or some ...
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Is it fine to state every learned behavior has an innate component ? ie. Behavior X is largely/ mostly laerned with an innate component

For example human acquisition of language, can we say it is learned, but has an innate component -- because there is a particular structure of the tongue, and perhaps also a specific cognitive ability ...
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How does the “giant mosquito”, Psorophora ciliata manifest it's “aggresive and vicious” behavior?

On Psorophora ciliata Wikipedia states: Not only are these mosquitoes vicious and aggressive towards humans and other animals as adults but, P. ciliata larvae are known for preying on other ...
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Octopus behaviour

When visiting a museum in Malmo my friends and I came across this little guy. While we observed him wandering around his tank he suddenly opened a channel on the side of his head and shot some red ...
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48 views

What advantage do dogs have in clearly disclosing whether they are afraid or unafraid in a conflict?

Dogs are known to clearly show whether they are afraid or unafraid with the posture of their tails during a conflict. How and why is this beneficial? My limited understanding makes me feel that, in ...
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Do birds change their diet before migration?

Migration takes up a lot of energy, so I am wondering if birds (in my case mallards) change their diet / food preferences in the weeks before migrating. Do they select for more energetic foods to fuel ...
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What is the mechanism behind cats' geolocating homing behavior?

Some cats, which are separated from their home, have the ability to travel back to their original home - even over long distances and land that they haven't encountered before. E.g., see the Time ...
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Why don't humans typically drink human milk after infancy?

Does any human culture routinely do this? Typically taboos have some evolutionary basis. So what would that be? Does any mammal drink the milk of its own species, besides nursing?
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Which bird species/families worm-dance and is this learned behaviour?

Today I saw a Herring Gull and a Common Gull (UK common names) "worm-dancing" on an area of wet grass. Worm-dancing is when the bird taps its feet on the ground rapidly in order to drum worms to the ...
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116 views

Why are dogs so selective about choosing a spot to defecate?

Anybody who walks a dog knows that dogs are normally selective about choosing a spot to defecate. They sniff around for a long time, while I just want to be on my way. I understand about marking ...
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Typical firing patterns of (some) motor neurons

Since it is not so easy to imagine and visualize the behaviour of the muscles in the fingers, hand, and arm of a violinist performing a fast and accentuated trill vs. a slow and soft vibrato, I try to ...