9.20 | Fall 2013 | Undergraduate

Animal Behavior

Readings and Viewings

Effort on the readings and viewings is expected outside of class. Students should read and view videos for key concepts and their illustration in actual examples. Always try to answer the study questions.

Required Textbooks

[Scott] = Scott, Graham. Essential Animal Behavior. Wiley-Blackwell, 2004. ISBN: 9780632057993. [Preview with Google Books]

[Alcock] = Alcock, John. The Triumph of Sociobiology. Oxford University Press. 2001. ISBN: 9780195143836.

Additional Textbooks

[Tinb] = Tinbergen, Niko. Curious Naturalists. Doubleday, 1958. ISBN: 9780385028813. [Preview with Google Books]

[King] = Lorenz, Konrad Z. King Solomon’s Ring. Crown, 1952. ISBN: 9780416538601. [Preview with Google Books]

[Found] = ———. The Foundations of Ethology. Springer-Verlag, 1981. ISBN: 9780387816234. [Preview with Google Books]


Introduction: class requirements, various approaches to animal behavior and its study

Lecture 1 Study questions (PDF)

Corbett, Jim. Jungle Lore. Oxford University Press, 1990, pp. 51–6, and 165–72. ISBN: 9780940143586.

Introduction to ethology; three-spined stickleback fish

Lecture 2 Study questions (PDF)

[Tinb] pp. 187–204.

[Scott] Chapter 1, pp. 1-18.

Open University, British Broadcasting Corporation, Pennsylvania State University, and Encyclopaedia Britannica Educational Corporation. 1993. “Questions About Behavior”. Chicago, Ill: Britannica. [videorecording]

Secko, David. “Big Cross Lands Sticklebacks in the Spotlight.” The Scientist 18, no. 21 (2004): 16–7.


Introduction to ethology (cont.); field studies of birds; Niko Tinbergen’s questions

Lecture 3 Study questions (PDF)

[King] Chapter 11, pp. 128–80.

Ethology (cont.); Konrad Lorenz’ Jackdaws.


Ethology of geese; fixed action patterns and the CNS

Lecture 5 Study questions (PDF)

Konrad Lorenz and His Geese. “Wild, Wild World of Animals.” PBS. 1976. [Videorecording.]

[Scott] Chapter 2, pp. 19–41.


Fixed action patterns and the CNS (cont.)

Lecture 6 Study questions (PDF)

[Scott] Chapter 3, pp. 42–56.

Input and output sides of innate behavior; motivation


Innate behavior and motivation (cont.); Lorenz on fundamentals of ethology: The “fixed action pattern”

Lecture 8 Study questions (PDF)

[Found] pp. 107–35.

Lorenz on fundamentals of ethology (cont.)

Lecture 9–10–11 Study questions (PDF)

[Found] pp. 153–75–210, and 235–53.

Evolution; development & plasticity of behavior

Lecture 12–13 Study questions (PDF)

[Scott] Chapter 4, pp. 57–92.

[Tinb] Chapter 6, pp 101–17.


Communication; Meerkats of the Kalahari Desert

Lecture 14–15 Study questions (PDF)

[Scott] Chapter 5, pp. 93–118.

Roberts, Monty. The Man Who Listens to Horses: The Story of a Real-Life Horse Whisperer. Ballantine Books, 2008, pp. 16–25, and 167–73. ISBN: 9780345510457.

JOIN-UP® : Flight Distance and Turns with Monty Roberts. Solvang: Monty & Pat Roberts Inc., Accessed April 17, 2014. [Digital video.]

Meerkats United. Directed by Marion Zunz. Color, 1986. [Distributed by BBC Worldwide. 1999. Videotape.]

Thornton, Alex, and Katherine McAuliffe. “Teaching in Wild Meerkats.” Science 313, no. 5784 (2006): 227–9.

Video clips of meerkats taken by conservation groups in South Africa:

Meerkcat Magic. The Meerkat Magic Conservation Project–Meerkat Magic Moments in The Meerkat Magic Valley Reserve. Accessed April 17, 2014.

Young, Andrew J., Anne A. Carlson, et al. “Stress and the Suppression of Subordinate Reproduction in Cooperatively Breeding Meerkats.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103, no. 32 (2006): 12005–10.


Foraging; anti-predation behavior

Lecture 16 Study questions (PDF)

[Scott] Chapter 6, pp. 119–42.

Anti-predation behavior (cont.)

Lecture 17 Study questions (PDF)

[Scott] Chapter 7, pp. 143–65.

G. E. Schneider, “Four hours in the life of a Syrian hamster” (unpublished manuscript, last modified Oct 10, 2013), PDF file.

Great Escapes. Directed by Marty Stouffer. Color, 1993. [Marty Stouffer Productions Ltd., 2012. DVD.]

  Midterm review questions (PDF)  

Mating & reproduction

Lecture 18 Study questions (PDF)

[Scott] Chapter 8, pp. 166–96.

Introduction to sociobiology

Lecture 19 Study questions (PDF)

[Alcock] Chapter 1, pp. 3–21.

Allen, E., B. Beckwith, et al. “Against ‘Sociobiology’.” New York Review of Books, November 1975.


Sociobiology subject matter

Lecture 20 Study questions (PDF)

[Alcock] Chapter 2, pp. 23–40.

Genetic influences on social behavior

Lecture 21 Study questions (PDF)

[Alcock] Chapter 3, pp. 41–56.

Video: Domestic cat

Lecture 22 Study questions (PDF)

Cats: Caressing the Tiger. Produced by Barbara Jampel, Paula N. Kessler, Tim Kelly, and Tom Simon. Color, 54 min. 1991. [National Geographic Video. 2010. DVD.]

Domestic cat; scientific method in sociobiology

Lecture 23 Study questions (PDF)

[Alcock] Chapters 4–5, pp. 57–91.
24 Discoveries of sociobiology [Alcock] Chapter 6, pp. 93–127.
25 Discoveries of sociobiology (cont.)  

Critique of cultural determinism

Lecture 26 Study questions (PDF)

[Alcock] Chapter 7, pp. 129–47.

Sociobiology and culture; Practical issues and sociobiology

Lecture 27 Study questions (PDF)

[Alcock] Chapters 8–9, pp. 149–215.

“The triumph of sociobiology”; Konrad Lorenz on learning

Lecture 28 Study questions (PDF)

[Alcock] Chapter 10, pp. 217–23.
29 Konrad Lorenz on learning (cont.) [Found] Part 3.

Konrad Lorenz on learning (cont.); Video: The Great Apes

Dreyfus, Claudia. “50 Years of Chimpanzees,” New York Times, November 15, 2010.

Seyfarth, Robert M., and Dorothy L. Cheney. “The Structure of Social Knowledge in Monkeys.” (PDF) Animal Social Complexity: Intelligence, Culture, and Individualized Societies (2003): 207–29.

Russon, Anne E. “The Nature and Evolution of Intelligence in Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus).” Primates 39, no. 4 (1998): 485–503.

31 Video: The Great Apes (cont.)  

Written reports due & Extra credit homework due

32–35 Student report presentations  

The texts listed below will not be covered in class despite their value.

Corbett, Jim. Man-Eaters of Kumaon. Oxford, 1946.

Darwin, Charles. The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. University of Chicago Press, 1965. ISBN: 9780226136561. [Preview with Google Books]

Examples of Useful General Texts

The first two books in the list below are recent textbooks in which the authors have attempted to integrate ethological and sociobiological approaches to a greater degree than in previous books. Each of these books provides useful material for this class.

Alcock, John. Animal Behavior: An Evolutionary Approach. 10th ed. Sinauer Associates, 2013. ISBN: 9780878939664.

Dugatkin, Lee Alan. Principles of Animal Behavior. 3rd ed. W.W. Norton & Company, 2013. ISBN: 9780393920451.

Wickler, W. The Sexual Code: The Social Behavior of Animals and Men. Translated by F. Garvie. Doubleday, 1973. ISBN: 9780385061575.

Gallistel, C. R. The Organization of Action: A New Synthesis. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1980. ISBN: 9780470269121. [Preview with Google Books]

Buy at MIT Press ———. The Organization of Learning (Learning, Development and Conceptual Change). MIT Press, 1990. ISBN: 9780262071130.

Griffin, Donald R. Animal Thinking. Harvard University Press, 1984. ISBN: 9780674037120.

———. Animal Minds: Beyond Cognition to Consciousness. University of Chicago Press, 2001. ISBN: 9780226308654. [Preview with Google Books]

Hediger, H. Man and Animal in the Zoo. Translated by G. Vevers, and W. Reade. Delacorte Press, 1969.

———. Wild Animals in Captivity. Dover Publication, 1964. ISBN: 9780486212609.

Holdobler, B., and E. O. Wilson_. The Superorganism: The Beauty, Elegance and Strangeness of Insect Societies_. W. W. Norton & Company, 2009.

Westneat, David F., and Charles W. Fox, eds. Evolutionary Behavioral Ecology. Oxford University Press, 2010. ISBN: 9780195331929. [Preview with Google Books]

Strier, Karen B. Primate Behavioral Ecology. 4th ed. Pearson, 2010. ISBN: 9780205790173.

Maxwell, M., ed. The Sociobiological Imagination. State University of New York Press, 1991. ISBN: 9780791407684. [Preview with Google Books]

Ristau, C. A., and P. Marler, eds. Cognitive Ethology: The Minds of Other Animals. Psychology Press, 1990. ISBN: 9780805802528. [Preview with Google Books]

Wasserman, E. A., and T. R. Zentall_. Comparative Cognition: Experimental Explorations of Animal Intelligence_. Oxford University Press. 2006, ISBN: 9780195167658. [Preview with Google Books]

Examples of More Specialized Books: A Few of the Older Ones

Barnett, S. A. The Rat: A Study in Behavior. Aldine Publishing Company, 1963. [Preview with Google Books]

Byrne, R. W., and A. Whiten. Machiavellian Intelligence: Social Expertise and the Evolution of Intellect in Monkeys, Apes, and Humans. Oxford University Press, 1988. ISBN: 9780198521792.

Calhoun, J. B. The Ecology and Sociology of the Norway Rat. U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1962.

Cheney, D. L., and R. M. Seyfarth. How Monkeys See the World: Inside the Mind of Another Species. University Chicago Press, 1990. ISBN: 9780226102450. [Preview with Google Books]

Eibl-Eibesfeldt, I. Human Ethology. Aldine Transaction, 1989. ISBN: 9780202020303. [Preview with Google Books]

Fossey, D. Gorillas in the Mist. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1983. [Preview with Google Books]

Goodall, J. The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior. Belknap Press, 1986. ISBN: 9780674116498.

Hrdy, S. B. The Langurs of Abu: Female and Male Strategies of Reproduction. Harvard University Press, 1977. ISBN: 9780674510579. [Preview with Google Books]

———. Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape the Human Species. Ballantine Books, 2000. ISBN: 9780345408938.

———. Mother Nature : A History of Mothers, Infants, and Natural Selection. Pantheon, 1999. ISBN: 9780679442653.

———. Mother Nature: Natural Selection and the Female of the Species. Chatto & Windus, 1999.

Konner, M. The Tangled Wing: Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit. 2nd ed. Holt Paperbacks, 2003. ISBN: 9780805072792.

Leyhausen, P. Cat Behavior: The Predatory and Social Behavior of Domestic and Wild Cats. Taylor & Francis / Garland STPM Press, 1979. ISBN: 9780824070175.

Lockley, R. M. The Private Life of the Rabbit. HarperCollins Distribution Services, 1964. ISBN: 9780233957050.

Buy at MIT Press Plater, S. M., J. P. Keenan, and T. K. Shackelford, eds. Evolutionary Cognitive Neuroscience. MIT Press, 2006. ISBN: 9780262162418.

Roberts, M. The Man Who Listens to Horses. Random House, 1997. ISBN: 9780091802066.

Ryden, H. Lily Pond: Four Years with a Family of Beavers. William Morrow & Company, 1989. ISBN: 9780877959793.

Siegel, H. I., ed. The Hamster: Reproduction and Behavior. Springer, 1985. ISBN: 9780306417917.

Strum, S. C. Almost Human: A Journey into the World of Baboons. Random House, 1987. [Preview with Google Books]

Tinbergen, Niko. The Herring Gull’s World. Harper & Row, 1960. ISBN: 9780061315947.

Von Frisch, Karl. Bees: Their Vision, Chemical Senses, and Language. Cornell University Press, 1950.

Wrangham, R. W., W. C. McGrew, eds. Chimpanzee Cultures. Harvard University Press, 1994. ISBN: 9780674116627. [Preview with Google Books]

Grandin, Temple. Animals in Translation (Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior). Harcourt, 2005. [Preview with Google Books]

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2013
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Audio
Lecture Notes
Presentation Assignments with Examples
Written Assignments