Perspectives in Ethology

Volume 4 Advantages of Diversity

  • Paul Patrick Gordon Bateson
  • Peter H. Klopfer

About this book


One of the attractive features of the great classical ethologists was their readiness to ask different kinds of questions about behavior - and to do so without muddling the answers. Niko Tinbergen, for instance, was interested in the evolution of behavior. But he also had interests in the present-day sur­ vival value of a behavior pattern and in the mechanisms that control it from moment to moment. Broad as his interests were, he clearly separated out the problems and recognized that questions about the history, function, control, and development of behavior require distinct approaches - even though the answers to one type of question may aid in finding answers to another. The open-minded (and clear-headed) style of ethologists like Tinbergen was based on a recognition that there are diverse ways of usefully con­ ducting research on behavior. This consciousness has been partially sub­ merged in recent years by new waves of narrowly focused enthusiasm. For instance, the study of the behavior of whole animals without recourse to lower levels of analysis, and the treatment of sociobiological theories as ex­ planation for how individuals develop, has meant that the relatively fragile plants of neuroethology and behavioral ontogeny have almost disappeared under the flood.


animal behavior behavior biology development ecology evolution evolutionary biology ontogeny plants theory of evolution

Editors and affiliations

  • Paul Patrick Gordon Bateson
    • 1
  • Peter H. Klopfer
    • 2
  1. 1.Sub-Department of Animal BehaviourUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeEngland
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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