Skip to main content

Questions tagged [ethology]

The study of animal behaviour.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
6 votes
3 answers
9k 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 ...
biogirl's user avatar
  • 8,621
78 votes
3 answers
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 ...
Thomas's user avatar
  • 1,103
16 votes
4 answers
595 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 !
Poshpaws's user avatar
  • 7,302
24 votes
1 answer
743 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, ...
www0z0k's user avatar
  • 343
12 votes
2 answers
23k 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 ? ...
Bill Berlington's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
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 ...
Rodrigo's user avatar
  • 1,300
6 votes
8 answers
8k 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 ...
lalessandro's user avatar
29 votes
2 answers
14k 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 ...
Pimgd's user avatar
  • 397
15 votes
1 answer
3k 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-...
Petr's user avatar
  • 687
14 votes
2 answers
26k 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 ...
bsayegh's user avatar
  • 243
12 votes
2 answers
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? ...
katherinebridges's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
65k 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 ...
Derfder's user avatar
  • 657
10 votes
1 answer
27k 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 ...
user1306322's user avatar
  • 1,567
10 votes
1 answer
585 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 ...
maxint's user avatar
  • 495
9 votes
1 answer
4k 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 ...
Ana S. H.'s user avatar
  • 193
8 votes
1 answer
486 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 ...
FoldedChromatin's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
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), ...
ngramsky's user avatar
  • 183
8 votes
1 answer
439 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 ...
catemperor's user avatar
7 votes
5 answers
6k 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 ...
user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
8k 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 ...
msh210's user avatar
  • 503
6 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
pacoverflow's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
233 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 ...
Jack's user avatar
  • 63
4 votes
1 answer
2k 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?
tacos_tacos_tacos's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
89 views

Can we infer the orientation of a moose's head from the teeth patterns on tree trunks?

Background I am interested in studying the distribution and patterns of behaviour of moose (Alces alces). Moose chew bark off of the trunks of trees, especially Populus tremuloides. See some of the ...
Galen's user avatar
  • 1,055
4 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
Derfder's user avatar
  • 657
3 votes
1 answer
3k 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, ...
Twisted Genes's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
4k 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/...
Dan Kwi's user avatar
  • 31
2 votes
1 answer
135 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?
laggingreflex's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
3k 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 ...
user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
93 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, ...
Kelmikra's user avatar
  • 187
0 votes
1 answer
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?
Emmanuel O.'s user avatar