Essay on Ethology and Behavior Animal Behavior

Submitted By angelchan0804
Words: 5625
Pages: 23

Week 2
Lecture 20150112(MON)
A historical perspective of the Study of Animal behavior
Animal behavior interests date back to prehistoric times
Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)
Often considered to be the father of biology
Classified more than 540 species of animals; segregated as vertebrates (enaima) or invertebrates (“Anaima”) based on the presence or absence of blood
Produce the first systematic account of animal behavior (Historia Animalium)
Proposed the concept of scala naturae (“natural ladder”) to explain a gradual transition from inanimate to plants, animals, and humans
Historia Animalism
Species’ habitats
Animal behavior (e.g. foraging and social behavior of bees, migratory behavior of cranes and pelicans, electric discharge of electric rays, brood parasitism by European cuckoos)
Relative grades of animal intelligence
The lagoon: How Aristotle invented science (2014)
Recovered Aristotle’s science
Classical Roots of Ethology
Aristotle’s concept of scala naturae became closely intertwined with our view of God and religion (Compatible with the Biblical view)
Scala naturae was seen as logically ending with God as the ultimate expression of perfection
Medieval Concept of God’s strict and hierarchical structure of the universe
“The Great Chain of Being”—Universal hierarchy of life
A powerful visual metaphor for a divinely inspired universal hierarchy ranking all forms of higher and lower life, humans are represented by the male alone
Ranked animals by level of development (lowest forms at bottom, humans near the top)
When Darwin starts to refuse these “truth”

Pre-Darwinian Roots (17th-18th centuries)
Three schools of thought
1. Aristotelians: (their thought)
a. Distinguished human soul (vs. animals which do not have souls)
b. Humans are rational and use logical reasoning
c. Animals are guided by sensory perception
2. Cartesians (Based on Descartes)
a. Shared Descartes concept of Mind-body Dualism
i. Maintained that humans are unique from animals because of their ability for mental experience (Mind)
b. Subscribed to Descartes’ mechanical theory of Animal behavior (inspired by moving statues in the gardens of the Saint Germain palace)
c. Descartes conceived animals as complex “moving statues” equipped with finer tubes and faster and lighter fluids called “animal spirits (?)
d. Thus, they maintained that animals (w/no soul or free-will) operated as mere machines or brutes and followed the rules of physics
3. Sensationalists
a. Major influence from John Locke (1600’s)
i. Tabula rasa—“blank or erased tablet”
ii. “All ideas come from sensation or reflection”
iii. Believed animals and humans were born with a tabula rasa
iv. It is the learning process that determines what is “on the tablet”
b. Humans knowing draw from same resources as those available to animal
i. Stress the role of environment and experience
4. Summary of Contrasts:
1. Dichotomy between humans as reasoning beings with souls and animals as automata
Humans responds to environment like animals
2. Complex behavior explained by instincts(天性) instilled by God
Downplayed instincts, emphasized acquired knowledge
3. Innate tendency of species
Environmental effects on individuals
a. Dichotomy—division into two usually contradictory parts or opinions

Cartesian Dilemma
It was clear that the “beast machine” image of animals was not correct because animals clearly could perceive, feel, and act intelligently as no machine could
Led to new dichotomies!!!!!
Animals do show some level of intelligence
Humans as rational being vs. Animals as beast-machines
NEW dichotomies: Instinct vs. learning & Nature vs. Nurture
Darwin’s Evolutionary Framework
His statement: Human and Animals are interrelated!!! (really controversial at that time)
The Origin of Species—general theory of evolution by natural selection
Natural selection—process of differential reproduction and survivorship among individuals within a