9.20 Animal Behavior

Fall 2005

Photo of three lions hunting on the Serengeti.
Three African lions hunting on the Serengeti. (Photo by Gary Stolz, courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.)

Course Highlights

This course features a complete set of audio lectures and a bibliography of readings.

Course Description

Most of the major categories of adaptive behavior can be seen in all animals. This course begins with the evolution of behavior, the driver of nervous system evolution, reviewed using concepts developed in ethology, sociobiology, other comparative studies, and in studies of brain evolution. The roles of various types of plasticity are considered, as well as foraging and feeding, defensive and aggressive behavior, courtship and reproduction, migration and navigation, social activities and communication, with contributions of inherited patterns and cognitive abilities. Both field and laboratory based studies are reviewed; and finally, human behavior is considered within the context of primate studies.

Special Features

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Prof. Gerald Schneider

Course Meeting Times

Three sessions / week
1 hour / session



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