Chapter 15: Animal Behavior

Table of Contents


Ethology is the study of animal behaviors, which can be inherited (innate behaviors) or learned. We will discuss each type of behavior in this chapter, as well as movement patterns, communication, social behavior, and mating.

Types of Animal Behaviors

Inherited (Innate Behaviors)

Recall that natural selection is ‘survival of the fittest.’ An animal’s fitness refers to their ability to reproduce; the more fit the animal, the more viable and fertile offspring they have the potential of making.

Therefore, innate behaviors should increase an animal’s fitness. This is because they are inherited and should have been shaped over time by natural selection. Behavioral ecology is the study of how innate behaviors increase fitness.

The types of innate behaviors are: