The term ‘comparative psychology’ does not reflect well present thought on animal behaviour, but yet it remains a frequently used title of this area of work. Accordingly, it is perhaps as well to set out the rationale and perspective from which we have approached the area in this text. All behaviour, certainly among animal species, and probably among human animals as well, is driven by an overarching need, that of the individual animal to pass its genes on to succeeding generations. Behaviour which does not contribute to this end will tend to die out, to be replaced by behaviour which does more to ensure that the genes an individual carries are transmitted to offspring.
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