Questions tagged [ethology]

The study of animal behaviour.

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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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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Do animals also dream?

By "dream", I mean: Dreaming while sleeping. Dreaming about their future life while being awake. Thank you in advance.
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1answer
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Do non-human animals suffer from insomnia?

And how do we know whether they do or not? § If sleep is a physiological need, it seems weird that we become unable to fulfill on demand even in the absence of any obvious physical issues. We would ...
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1answer
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What happens to an ant colony when the queen dies?

Does the colony collapse? Do workers keep following the last orders? Or can future queens replace the dead one? I'm guessing this might also depend on each specific sub-species.
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1answer
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What's food mode?

I've been watching a The Crocodile Hunter episode about Komodo dragons, and Steve Irwin kept speaking about the animals being in "food mode", in which they apparently change their behavior to one of a ...
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1answer
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Cat purring: What are some possible underlying mechanisms behind purring and bone remodeling and formation?

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-do-cats-purr The article above says that cats purr mostly when they're wounded or under duress. They hypothesis that cats purring leads to ...
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1answer
72 views

Introductory text for primatology

I'm looking for a book that provides a good overview of primatology, one aimed more at researchers rather than a popular science book. Ideally, I'd like something with an ethology/ecology angle with ...
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1answer
885 views

How do animals/plants change for each season? [closed]

The question pretty much sums it up. How do animals/plants change for each: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter? A detailed explanation on distinct behaviour and appearance changes would be nice.
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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 ...
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2answers
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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 ? ...
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What are the most well-understood vocal animal languages? [closed]

Just as the Bee dance, for a "language", I mean that there are vocal pattens, or "grammar". In the nature, there are many intelligent animals like human beings. Bird songs, whale songs, dogs? In ...
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Birds placing sticks on train tracks?

I live in a semi-rural area in Germany, close to a park which trains go through every 20 minutes. Today, I saw something that left me perplexed. There is a large population of birds that look like ...
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1answer
460 views

are female bonobos “always” pregnant?

Given that bonobo chimps are more sexually active then humans, are the females almost always pregnant? if not how not? also are they so sexually active in the wild as well or is it just in captivity?
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2answers
881 views

What makes an animal/species suitable for domestication/training?

Humans have domesticated all manner of creatures during the course of their civilization - dogs, horses, several types of cattle, varieties of birds, and perhaps others too. A prerequisite for an ...
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1answer
784 views

Tool use by animals: research history

I was under impression that data about quite a lot different species using different tools is a fairly modern phenomenon, i.e., all of the research is fairly recent. Around 50 years ago it was ...
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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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1answer
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Why is the Kakapo more attracted to humans than its own kind?

The Kakapo can be seen in this video by BBC. It is said that the species is strongly sexually attracted to humans. Why could this be the case?
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1answer
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Is there any reason the common housefly continues to return to an area?

This might come off as a really silly question. But I'm wondering (especially in the case of food) if there is any reason a fly would continue to try and sit on top of a piece of food even after ...
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Do any animals other than humans undergo menopause?

Do any animals other than humans undergo menopause? Also, is there any difference between animals in captivity and animals in the wild as regards menopause? For example, even if menopause has been ...
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2answers
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What does “nesting failure” mean?

According to the Wikipedia article on swans, swans are mostly monogamous but may sometimes separate, particularly after a "nesting failure". What "nesting failure" may mean is not entirely clear to me....
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Is there a term for tool use in animals?

Is there a technical/scientific term that scientists use to refer to tool making abilities found in certain types of animals? Reference http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_cognition#...
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1answer
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How do porcupines keep from pricking each other while mating?

How do porcupines keep from pricking each other while mating? It seems like they would constantly be scratching each other.
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1answer
613 views

How do members of cryptic species know who to mate with?

According to Wikipedia: In biology, a cryptic species complex is a group of species which satisfy the biological definition of species—that is, they are reproductively isolated from each other—...
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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, ...