Ethological Research on African Ungulates
Ethology is a relatively young branch of biology; its initial efforts were directed primarily toward birds and fishes, while mammals received attention only at a later stage (cf. Ewer, 1968). It took even more time before ethologists began to study the behavior of free-ranging mammals. Despite the fascination of many European travellers in Africa with the astounding diversity of ungulates and other mammals, serious studies in the wild only started within the last two or three decades. Some of the early hunter-naturalists collected voluminous notes on the “habits” of wild ungulates, but a considerable portion of this information was biased by preconceived notions and/or subjective interpretations. This is not to say that these early writings are useless, but it is difficult for the present-day student to distinguish reliable from unreliable reports without actually engaging in extensive observations himself.
KeywordsWild Ungulate Captive Animal Open Savanna Expressive Gesture European Traveller
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