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Questions tagged [ethology]

The study of animal behaviour.

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Ethology - Would a man-eater attack a human if it were saved?

If a wild man-eating animal (e.g. big cats, bears, alligators) were saved or helped out by a human in a desperate situation - example provided in this video - is it expected that said animal might ...
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Do vultures ever carry food away?

I was wondering if the feet of Vultures enable them to carry food found in one location to another location, or whether they always just eat what's on site, on site? In other words, can Vultures do ...
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What's the relationship between oxygen consumption and ambient oxygen concentration for a lobster?

I was looking at a research paper by Thomas (1954) and came across a graph with ambient oxygen concentration plotted against oxygen consumption rate of a European lobster kept in water. As we can see,...
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Can multiple cetacean species communicate?

It seems that individuals within the same species have their own communication, but is there evidence to suggest that individuals from different species are able to communicate?
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What's the relationship between snail movement and rain?

I have a question about the relationship between snail and rain. A few days ago I found snail shells in a moist area and I brought them in for crafts work (I thought they were empty because snail ...
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The Tun state of a tardigrade

I was wondering How long does it take for a tardigrade to enter and exit the Tun state? I'm doing a thesis on tardigrades for my B.S in biology and I haven't come along any information in the primary ...
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Who cleans the cleaner fish?

Cleaner fish are those fish that eat the dead skin cells and parasites off from other usually larger fish. ( such cleaners include wrasse, cichlids, catfish, shrimp etc ) I wondered if the cleaner ...
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Why is wombat excreta shaped like cubes?

I've heard that wombat excreta is cube shaped, but I don't understand how that can happen. Has anyone studied the phenomenon? What would the evolutionary pressure have been to cause this?
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Will a dog develop similar feelings with a robot as like human?

I think we are connected to the world by Biochemistry first and then physical and verbal interactions. If a robot feeds a dog regularly, pampers it and cuddles it regularly, would it develop the same ...
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Why so fewer birds in the yard come late summer and early autumn?

We've enjoyed watching birds in our yard this past summer. We're in a suburb, fairly forested, inland northeastern USA hardiness zone 5. As we scaled up the amount of diversity and net primary ...
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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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Is there mismatch in injures or death numbers for carnivores that hunt during day time and night time?

Is there significant mismatch in injures or death numbers for hunters (when hunter was killed or injured by its prey), between day time and night time hunts (carnivores that hunt during the day time ...
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Is it more risky for lions to hunt during the night?

Lions as I understand are very versatile hunters. Using many different hunting strategies to increase their success rate including hunting during the night. Do they risk more during night hunts (...
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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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Why would a horse-fly quickly dip into water?

For several years I have noticed a large horse-fly, flying very quickly down to the surface of my pond (in Sweden), touch the surface, and fly off. Sometimes it dips down a few times, taking some ...
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How to quantify the strength of social bonding between the individuals of a colony? How to compare the strength of social bonding across the species?

Consider two different species of honey bees. If I have to compare the strength of social bonding between the two species i.e. in which species, social bonding between the individuals is stronger than ...
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153 views

Territorial behavior in humans?

Do humans exhibit territorial behavior like other primates? I have seen people sometimes stare at others -- notably males -- and then physical fights spontaneously turn up. Is this territorial? It ...
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1answer
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What do bats do if played ultra sound?

If there are bats flying in the cave, and I play the same pitch they use to echolocate from a speaker, what would the bats do?
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Are there any pairs of animal species that regularly prey on other?

I don't mean cannibalism within a single species - I mean, are they are any pairs of species A and B such that members of species A regularly prey on members of species B, and also members of species ...
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Why do snails come out of the grass when it rains?

I would like to know why snails come out of the grass when it rains. As a child my paternal grandmother always told me that they come out onto the sidewalk because they need to avoid drowning into the ...
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Why do snails hang out alone?

I would like to know, if snails have families, then why do snails hang out by themselves? What kind of animals are they, rectiles, insects, where are they categorized in the kingdom, phylum, ..., ...
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55 views

Species that murder their own counterparts when put in captivity

Mary Midgley writes in her book, Beast and Man (p. 54 in this eBook: https://goo.gl/3NnhtP): Lorenz gives chilling examples from roe deer and doves, in both of which species stronger members will ...
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Is there a distinction between the fisherian runaway theory and Fisher's sexy son theory?

In many websites/books they are referred to as part of the same process whereby: "runaway" describing that the process continues even after traits become maladaptive the "sexy son theory" explains ...
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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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Why do lions keep young preys and don't kill them right away?

I saw some (actually several) videos on Youtube of young lions and lionesses that after hunting baby preys keep them and even seem to play with them. The lions don't seem to want to hurt them but they ...
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1answer
334 views

What do you call clearly different sub-groups within a species?

If you look at species of bees and ants, you can clearly see there are drastically different specialized ants, like queen ants and workers. They're both part of the same species, yet are still ...
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Are there any parasites that alter human behavior in a self destructive way?

There seems to be quite a few examples of parasites taking over the behavior of insects in a way that leads to the death of the host. A couple of examples include: Spinochordodes tellinii: A ...
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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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What are the chances that Tyrannosaurus Rex could roar? [closed]

Tyrannosaurus Rex is now thought to have possibly had lips. Less of chance of it roar though I was told by a friend just because there are birds doesn’t mean they can’t. Evolution isn't linear, just ...
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172 views

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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1answer
167 views

Why does the olive tree produce a bitter tasting fruit?

What is the survival value for the olive tree to produce a bitter tasting fruit, even when it is ripened? I realize some fruits and berries are species specific, i.e., meant for specific animals to ...
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2answers
376 views

Water-bird that can take off vertically from the water?

If you look at ducks taking off, they take off at a pretty flat angle, building up speed before they finally get some altitude. This takes a lot of distance, it seems, for them to get high in the air. ...
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1answer
236 views

Why don't electric eels shock themselves?

Why do electric eels not stun or pain themselves when they discharge their high voltage shocks? While it is known that they use those high voltage shocks to track their prey (as discovered by my ...
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Can crocodilians differentiate their offsprings from other young crocodiles?

I read that some species of crocodilians can take care of their young for as long as a year. How do parents differentiate their offsprings from other young crocodiles? Smell, appearance, sound?
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1answer
113 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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1answer
96 views

Can platypuses communicate via electroreception?

I know at least some electroreceptive fish are capable of basic communication with other members of their species via varying their own bioelectric signals. However, I can't find any information as ...
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Do prey animals fail to see incoming pythons/snakes?

I understand that pythons are considered ambush predators, and I was under the impression that they tend to employ the sit-and-wait strategy: quietly staying in a coiled position near a trail ...
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1answer
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At what point do scientists consider something sentient vs random and/or genetic? [closed]

When I was thinking about sentience from a scientific point of view, I was confused about the bio-electric mental difference between a paramecium, dog, human, and supercomputer. At what point does ...
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What does a wing shake in crickets indicate?

What does it mean when a male cricket (Acheta domesticus) shakes its wings towards another male cricket? Is this an act of aggressiveness?
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1answer
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Is there a biological term for an activity period that is determined by temparature

In general we refer to the activity period of organisms in terms of the period of the day that they are active. Diurnal, crepuscular, nocturnal, matutinal, and vespertine, for example. There are ...
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Which predator raises its tail to signal no threat? [closed]

A guy in a bar once told me that there is some animal which raises its tail when at a watering area in order to signal to the other animals that it's not going to attack. He told me this as an ...
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3answers
793 views

Why don't Australian magpies in Tasmania swoop at people?

I'm currently living in Tasmania (Australia) and I have noticed that Magpies don't swoop at you here, yet they do in other parts of the country. Just wondering: does anyone know why?
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Why do earthworms surface after a rain?

Googling, I find two different explanations for why earthworms tend to surface after a rain. This page from UCSB, for example, gives both answers, contradicting itself: The first explanation is ...
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1answer
437 views

Why are spiders afraid of flies caught in their web?

I recently noticed a fly got caught in a spider web in my house. The fly was very energetic and, even though caught, continued to flap it's one wing (which I think might have been partially free) with ...
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4k views

Where do birds and squirrels go to die?

This may sound like a silly question, but I have been wondering about this for a while. I live in a suburban neighborhood with a lot of trees. A lot of trees means birds and squirrels. You can hear ...
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1answer
145 views

Are we capable to generate sounds of animals to the point that they mistakenly recognize it as members of their species?

From Animal language (Wikipedia), there are many evidences that we can communicate with animals, at least to baboons and dolphins. There is a case that fish moving away when hearing a record of whale ...
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1answer
467 views

If an insect becomes upside down, do they have mechanisms to turn themselves right side up?

This question is mainly applicable to beetle's and cockroaches. If I flip them so their legs point upward, they usually squirm around and wiggle trying to come back upright. Sometimes they succeed, ...
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93 views

Can solitary animals show extroverts traits?

So far as it is known there are solitary animals and social animals. Does introversion exist among nonhuman primates? says that there are introverts among social animals: Recent studies have ...
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135 views

Are there animals who do things just for pleasure like humans?

In a debate my father said that only humans do things that are not directly linked to survival(painting, playing musical instruments, singing etc). He said that this is because we are "special" and ...
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Light signals in the courtship and mating

I am investigating on the emission of signals in the courtship and mating in the animals. I know that the fireflies emit light signals as a courtship ritual. Are there other animals that use this ...