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Topics in Depth

Sensing and Responding to the Environment

Most animal behavior is based on an animal’s desire to survive. The chances of survival are not very good for an animal that cannot find food or hide from predators. A couple of things have to ha...

Movement

Sensing and learning from the environment is one thing, but responding to it is another beast all together. Most animal behavior is based on movement—toward food, away from predators, toward mate...

Finding Food

The first thing on an animal’s "To-do" list is survive. Surviving has a few steps: eating, finding shelter, and avoiding predators. Eating food is an essential part of life. All animals are heter...

Defense

It is a dog-eat-dog world out there, so animals have to defend themselves. The main trick to surviving is not being eaten or killed. How do animals defend themselves from other animals that wish th...

Communication

Communication is pretty freakin’ important in the animal world. It is a way of saying, "hey, want to mate with me?" and "watch out for that lion, it looks hungry!" Animals (us included) pass info...

Social Systems and Altruism

Some animals are loners, avoiding contact with others except when they get into a tiff over a territory or feel the need to mate. Mating is all fine and well, but there are other reasons that an an...

Mating Behavior

As scandalous as it may seem to a 15th century pope, most animals do not settle down with one partner for the rest of their lives, but instead have different partners in each mating season. Animals...

Finding a Mate

Finding a mate is a big deal in the animal world, and it accounts for a lot of animal behavior. Since other animals haven’t discovered the internet yet, they can’t rely on dating sites or Faceb...

Raising Offspring

Do you ever wonder why your parents worry so much about you? Why do they get angry when you do fun things like skateboard in the street and ride shopping carts down hills? Well, they would say its...

Common Mistakes

Sensing and Responding to the EnvironmentOperant vs. classical conditioning: Both are types of associative learning, so two experiences become associated with each other. In operant conditioning, t...

Test Your Knowledge

Sensing and Responding to the Environment1. What is the name for a fixed behavior, that does not vary based on experience?2. Pavlov’s dog salivated in anticipation of food every time he rang a be...

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