Review of Bird Coloration: Vol. 1, Mechanisms and Measurement; Vol. 2, Function and Evolution

Book review

Why Snakes Have Forked Tongues

The serpent’s forked tongue has intrigued humankind for millennia, but its function has remained obscure. Theory, anatomy, neural circuitry, function, and behavior now support a hypothesis of the forked tongue as a chemosensory edge detector used to follow pheromone trails of prey and conspecifics. The ability to sample simultaneously two points along a chemical gradient […]

The influence of cochlear shape on low-frequency hearing

The conventional theory about the snail shell shape of the mammalian cochlea is that it evolved essentially and perhaps solely to conserve space inside the skull. Recently, a theory proposed that the spiral‘s graded curvature enhances the cochlea’s mechanical response to low frequencies. This article provides a multispecies analysis of cochlear shape to test this […]

History and future of comparative analyses in sleep research

The comparative methods of evolutionary biology are a useful tool for investigating the functions of sleep. These techniques can help determine whether experimental results, derived from a single or few species, apply broadly across a specified group of animals. In this way, comparative analysis is a powerful complement to experimentation. The variation in the time […]

Do all animals sleep?

Some animals never exhibit a state that meets the behavioral definition of sleep. Others suspend or greatly reduce ‘sleep’ behavior for many weeks during the postpartum period or during seasonal migrations without any consequent ‘sleep debt.’ Rats die from one form of sleep deprivation, but sleep loss has not been shown to cause death in […]

Stereotypic Animal Behaviour: Fundamentals and Applications to Welfare

Stereotypies, or stereotypic behaviours, are generally defined as unvarying, repetitive behaviour patterns that have no obvious goal or function. There are obvious examples, which include bar-biting of closely confined sows, wind sucking of stabled horses and repetitive pacing of certain zoo animals. However, many other less specific behaviour patterns can also be included. This book […]

Why in earth? Dustbathing behaviour in jungle and domestic fowl reviewed from a Tinbergian and animal welfare perspective

Dustbathing has been the subject of much research in captive birds. In the present review we bring together the studies of domestic fowl (Gallus gallus domesticus) and jungle fowl (G. gallus) to provide a more complete picture of the behaviour. Dustbathing is discussed from the four aspects suggested by Tinbergen [Tinbergen, N., 1963. On aims […]

Vocal repertoire of captive Capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris): structure, context and function

In this work we describe the structure, behavioral context and functionality of the vocal repertoire of capybaras, a social Caviomorph rodent. Additionally, since territoriality is present in this species, we hypothesize the occurrence of vocal differences among social groups. We analyzed a total of 2069 calls emitted by 28 animals from three different social groups. […]

D.G.M. Wood-Gush Memorial Lecture: An applied ethologist looks at the question “Why?”

The question “Why does an animal behave as it does?” can be answered in terms of ontogeny, function, phylogeny and causation. The achievements of applied ethology relative to those four approaches are reviewed, gaps in our knowledge are identified and predictions for fruitful avenues of future research are made. Ontogenic studies have been useful in […]

The effects of social interaction and environmental enrichment on the space use, behaviour and stress of owned housecats facing a novel environment

Every day, millions of domestic cats are held temporarily in captive environments, such as boarding catteries and rescue shelters. Being in confinement can potentially invoke high levels of stress for these animals. Therefore, there is a need to develop appropriate strategies to reduce these effects. Here, we investigated the effect of physical (inclusion of different […]