Questions tagged [ethology]

The study of animal behaviour.

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6
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3answers
8k views

What if $rB=C$ in Hamilton's rule?

Hamilton's rule states that if $rB>C$ then a gene giving altruistic behaviour will increase in frequency in the population. What would happen if $rB=C$? Will an individual perform the altruistic ...
72
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2answers
6k views

Do animals exhibit handedness (paw-ness?) preference?

I have been observing my cat and found that when confronted with an unknown item, she will always use her front left paw to touch it. This has me wondering if animals exhibit handedness like humans ...
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4answers
536 views

Is there any documented evidence for suicide among vertebrates other than humans?

Is there any documented evidence for suicide among vertebrates other than humans? Lemmings not accepted !
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8answers
6k views

Does any animal species have two sexes and more genders?

Are there any animal species that have two sexes and a kind of different internal diversification in two genders or more? I don't mean something like different-task-based diversity, but something ...
12
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2answers
19k views

Why can all animals swim in water without learning to swim but humans cannot?

I had a question since I was a child. I was always curious about the fact that all animals can swim in water. They don't need any training or to learn swimming. But humans need to learn to swim. Why ? ...
23
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1answer
681 views

Are there dextral/sinistral higher animals? [duplicate]

For example, almost every dog I've met in my life (more than 20 subjects) uses their right paw touching one while asking for attention. Can it be used as a criterion for calling them dextral? If not, ...
8
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3answers
2k views

Is homosexuality an adaptation in humans?

Homo sapiens have menopause - as some other mammals (e.g. some Cetacea) - a phenomenon where older females live for decades after the end of their own reproduction. Perhaps homosexuality, that looks ...
29
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2answers
13k views

Where do migratory birds go when it rains?

I was reading a comic from XKCD which inspired me to ask this question: "well, where do they go when it rains?" I know that when it rains you usually don't see any birds flying through the sky. I ...
9
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2answers
3k views

Why do carnivores evolve?

If humans can live without consuming other animals, then why do we do it? From a biological point of view, why do we eat meat? I would also extend the question to other animals because many animals ...
14
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1answer
2k views

Do fake wasp nests actually fool wasps?

I have seen fake wasp nests sold as a deterrent against wasps and similar insects. Do they really work? Is there some scientific evidence for it? A related link: http://www.scienceworld.ca/do-fake-...
12
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2answers
4k views

Why does Hunger lead to the aggressive behavior?

I have observed that frequently when people are hungry; they tend to get angry more easily on pointless issues. Does this mean that our fight or flight response is more active when a person is hungry? ...
12
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1answer
52k 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 ...
9
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1answer
25k views

Why do people and animals stretch out their bodies and what is causing this behaviour?

I noticed that my cat which is only 6 months old has started stretching its body from time to time. Then I thought that this motion doesn't seem very natural from another cat's viewpoint, so my cat ...
8
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1answer
367 views

Cannibalizing behaviour in ants

Today I saw an ant question biology and was reminded of a picture I had clicked 2 years ago. Here, you can see these black guys cannibalizing this other black guy. To reiterate, these guys had ...
6
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1answer
247 views

Why social animals attack odd members of their own group?

Some social animals are known for attacking odd members of their own group, for example, chicken: If you have a large group of one type of chicken, they will usually gang up on the one or two ...
5
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2answers
1k views

Is life expectancy linked to intelligence in animals?

For example, animals that live only a few days or a few years are often not very intelligent. In contrast, the most intelligent animals seem to live longer. Is this true? Are there any studies to ...
6
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2answers
910 views

Why would a mother reject her offspring if it has been “interfered” with by humans?

There was a recent incident at Yellowstone National Park in which tourists placed a bison calf in their vehicle, and that eventually led to the calf being euthanized. The National Park Service issued ...
6
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5answers
5k views

Why do 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: From changing environments. Mutations. Possibly even genetic ...
3
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1answer
3k views

Why does a housecat (or other predator) play with it's food before killing and eating it? Does it make the food taste better?

I've read a couple people theorize that a cat playing with a mouse causes the mouse's body to be flushed with adrenaline before the final kill and that this adrenaline makes the meat more tender/...
3
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1answer
1k 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, ...
10
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1answer
560 views

Cat's tail movement as an indicative of tension

It appears to me that tail's twitching in the cats indicates how much tension the individual is under. During a hunt, when a cat tries to stay invisible, while approaching a target it is almost ...
8
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1answer
1k views

Do ants within a colony ever fight or come to conflict?

I'm investigating how hierarchical groups of a larger organization with a common goal tend to come to conflict with one another over time. As you decompose a large group (for example a corporation), ...
6
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1answer
4k views

For how long can a raven stay airborne (a week or more)?

I'm wondering for how long a raven can stay continuously airborne, if strained to do so? If it makes a difference, I'm mostly interested in the Common raven, Corvus corax. Are there for instance any ...
6
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1answer
193 views

Are there any animals that gradually approaches the predator to search for food?

I was wondering if there is an animal (or insect, bird, etc.) that eventually comes close to its predator to search for food, but only does so if it couldn't find food in the environment it is in. So ...
4
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1answer
1k 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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3answers
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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 ...
2
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1answer
130 views

Can ant colonies have two “branches”?

Could an ant colony have 2 or more "branches" located far from each other (i.e. physically separated but interconnected nests) ? If so, how far is the limit?
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0answers
88 views

How did the tendency to perform death rituals evolve?

Both elephants and humans perform rituals when deaths occur. However, I do not see any evolutionary benefit of this. The rituals take time, which apparently could be better spent hunting, foraging, ...
0
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1answer
14k views

How do ants know where they are going without eyes? [closed]

I know that ants have some sense of direction, but what is the physiology behind this sense?