Do you know that your cat can have emotion? Cats can give you sign when they cry with yowling and watery eyes! In fact, it is not only a cat who can experience an emotion such as fear, rage, or lust. Every animal can do. They also react to their surrounding, just like they are able to ‘think’. They do have some behaviours, just like humans.
The term is called ethology, a scientific study of animal behaviour that has been used since the nineteenth century. How could animal behaviour be such an important study to us, as human? Well, many scientists believe that studying animal behavior can shed light on our own knowledge. It helps us to understand human development as well. For example, studying animal behaviour can protect our health. The scientist can learn how diseases spread between animals and human.
Study of animal behaviour is not that simple. The study has a wide range of scope, and each of them has its complexity. If you are interested to learn animal behaviour, this article is for you to help you know better and to see the scope of the study. Prepare your notes, fellas!
Get to Know Scope Study of Animal Behaviour Here
What is behavior, anyway? For instant, behaviour is anything that animal acts, including actions and response to a stimulus, like how they eat, how they vocalize, or even how they walk and blink. Animal behaviorism is the study that involves investigating everything that they do, from single-celled organisms, invertebrates, reptiles, birds, fish, and the giant mammals.
The scientists learn the relationship of animals to their environments, how do they defend themselves from predators, and how they mate and reproduce, including how do they take care of their young. From all these actions or responses that have been investigated, they will learn the development of behaviour, and see how it changes during the animal’s lifetime and affected by experience or even genes. Pretty complex, isn’t it?
Earlier, we said about ethology, which is only one from the broad fields of animal behavior. There are at least for broad fields in this study:
- The ethology: which is the scientific study of animal behaviour that is considered as a branch of zoology
- Comparative psychology
- Behavioral ecology
Those broads have different goals, interests, and of course, methods. For example, the ethologist has been concerned with the functions and the regulation of animal behavior. Where on the other hand, behavioral ecologist has been concerned about the patterns of animal behavior and how these patterns correlate to the social and environmental conditions. Since they are different from each other, the four broads can have different departments. The ethologist and behavioral ecologists, for example, trained in departments of biology, ecology and evolution, zoology, wildlife, and others. But comparative psychologist is trained in the department of psychology.
Comparative psychology is the study that is specifically construed as a sub-topic of psychology, rather than biology like ethology. If the ethology involves research on animal behaviour in natural situations that relates to animal anatomy, physiology, and neurobiology. On the other hand, comparative psychology revolves around how animal behaviour in artificial situations where it compares to what we know about us; humans, psychology. That is why they have different departments. But still, those two is not competing, but instead, those approaches are complementing each other, where the result comes from many different perspectives and lead to more findings.
Moreover, learning in a neverending process. The range of the scope is growing rapidly. Over time, we have learned and reached new findings in many aspects of animals, from communication, sexuality, culture, learning, and even animal emotions. Neuroethology is one of the examples of the new scope that have developed. Who knows we will reach a new conclusion in another aspect, right?
What we have to understand that you don’t have to a scientist with many degrees just to learn about animal behaviour. Yes, it might get a little bit confusing, but learning about animal behaviour can help us to understand them more, especially if you have a pet in your home! Don’t you want to understand them better?
By learning animal behaviour, you can train your pet well. Each of animals, or even each of the breeds, have different natural behaviour, which means knowing how your pet behaves can help you to choose the best task and offer your pet the treatments that suit for your pet.
1. What causes it?
A different stimulus can result in different behaviour. You know that some type of birds sings to attract their mates, but some others sing to alert the others about approaching predators.
2. How does it develop?
Behaviour does change over time. Just like us, animals learn from experiences. Sometimes they copy or mimic the others because they see how it works, then the behaviour sticks to them. For example, birds learn to fly by seeing how their parents do it. Or simply, how your cat keeps meowing for food because your cat learns how do they get you to give them the treats.
3. How does it affect?
Further, we learn how behavior affects the essential parts of living; survival and reproduction. Does the behaviour affect them?
4. How did it evolve?
Not only changing, behaviour, in the long term may evolve over their lifetimes. They may use the behaviour on different purposes depending on their environment or their cases.
That’s all for today lesson. We know that there are at least 4 scopes of animal behaviour study. We know that animal behaviour isn’t that simple. They cannot express themselves directly just like us, right? We also know that it is important to learn animal behaviour, not only for our own sake, but also to help us, the animal lover, or whoever have pets in their home, to understand them more.