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Lecture 10

Lecture 10 - Primate Behavioural Ecology - November 20.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Keriann Mc Googan

November 20, 2012. Lecture 10 - Primate behavioural ecology What is behaviour?  Behaviour = anything organisms do that involves an action I response to internal or external stimuli o Hormone changes, hunger,  Innate or learned o Innate: response to a stimuli that is formed spontaneously (eg. crying, being startled, physical reflex), automatic behaviour o Learned: chimpanzee tool use, behaviour that is taught/learned and not naturally known Different Levels of Explanation  1. Ultimate o Explains traits in terms of evolutionary forces acting on them  2. Proximate o Immediate causes of behaviour (eg. underlying physiological factor behind behaviour, bonobos and sex)  3. Ontogenetic o How a particular behaviour develops during the lifespan of a person, animal, species, etc. (where does a particular behaviour start, does tool use happen during childhood, adolescence, etc.?)  4. Phylogenetic o How different species compare to one another (differences/similarities between chimpanzees and bonobos, or between different chimpanzee populations) Primate Field Studies  Robert Yerkes o human psychiatrist, first to send out students to study primate psychology  Raymond Carpenter o Student of Yerkes o Studied wild groups of howler monkeys  Kinjii Imanishi o Japanese macaques o One of the main reasons why we have so much knowledge on this species  Devore and Washburn o baboons and macaques  Phyllis Jay o Indian Langurs o Different social systems than what is seen in baboons o Langurs also more peaceful o Different mother/infant relationships  The “tri-mates” o Jane Goodall o Diane Fossey o Birute Galdikas  Descriptive reports o Describing what was seen and observed rather than using the scientific method to hypothesize and test Behavioural Sampling Techniques  Jeanne Altmann o Standard methodology  Ethogram: behavioural repertoire o List of behaviours with explanations on all four levels o Eg. howler monkeys  Feeding: individual places food in mouth, chews, swallows o Species specific o Categorical with discrete categories (little overlap as possible)  1. Ad libitum sampling o Akin to early descriptive field notes/diaries o Descriptive reports referred to as “ad libitum” samples o No standardization, just writing what you see o Advantage: Still used for cases when a rare behaviour happens during a current study  Eg. there was suddenly an infanticide, need to record such a behaviour o Disadvantage: subject to subjectivity, different researcher’s notes could vary hugely  2. Instantaneous Scan sampling o Observe a group of individuals and write down observed behaviour at set time intervals (eg. every 1 minute) o Advantages  Allows researchers to sample an entire group of primates very quickly  Easier than Ad libitum; not constantly watching animals o Disadvantages  Called into question exactly how instantaneous the scan actually is (takes time to record for each individual so by the time last behaviour is recorded it is not necessarily entirely instantaneous; behaviours can change very quickly)  Only recording state behaviours; potentially missing events  Can’t figure out durations, only frequencies  3. Focal Animal sampling o Write down observed behaviour continuously for predetermined amount of time (eg. 10 minutes) o Eg. at 0 individual is inactive, as soon as behaviour changes then you record the time and what the behaviour changed to o Combine multiple samples to calculate what is called an “Activity Budget”; how much time is spent in a day doing a particular thing and what things they do o Disadvantage: very time consuming and tiring  Usually a combination of all three will be used when studying a species Behavioural States  State = continuous behaviour, appreciable duration o Eg. climbing, grooming o Possible to be engaged in more than one state behaviour at once  Eg. sitting and grooming at the same time  Event = instantaneous behaviour o Eg. sneeze, vo
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