Animal behavior Version2
We can ask two fundamental questions about animal behavior, they referred to as proximate and ultimate. Proximate questions are those concerned with the mechanisms that bring about behavior; ultimate questions are those concerned with the evolution of behavior. We can divide the proximate and ultimate questions into two sub-questions. For proximate, how does the behavior develop and secondly what causes the behavior. For ultimate, you can ask how did the behavior evolve, and secondly what is the adaptive significance of the behavior, what’s its purpose. Together these comprise what are called Tinbergen’s four questions about animal behavior. Niko Tinbergen was one of the founding fathers of the study of animal behavior. These questions represent the different ways of studying animal behavior and understanding the difference between those four questions are fundamental to understanding behavior and indeed the whole of biology. How do we study animal behavior? Well that depends on the type of question we’re hoping to answer.