Ethology = ethos = behavior or mores
Science concerns the study of animal behavior in relation to its environment.
Ethology is to describe and try to understand the behaviors that characterize a species.
The objective of ethology and ethogram
The objective is to list the behaviors that each species possesses.
The term ethogram designates a complete inventory of the behaviors of a species.
However, the word ethogram can be used to denote the detailed description of a category of behavior ( for example, we can speak of the social ethogram of an animal when describing all aspects of the social behavior of that animal ).
Whether it is to obtain their food, to reproduce, to take shelter or to escape predators, animals must organize their activities, use strategies that meet their needs.
These acts, these ways of acting, can therefore be considered as units of action responding to a need.
We could use action units to classify their functions and behaviors.
Behavior inventory table
|Individual behaviors||Social behavior|
|Ingestion / Elimination
Protection (shelter, defense)
Playful game (solitary)
|Reproduction ( sexual and parental )
Social organization Social
Grooming ( mutual )
Aggression ( agonistic and affiliation behaviors )
Playful ( group ) play
The behavior inventory table gives an example of the classification of the various categories of behavior that can be found in a species.
However, we must consider as individual behavior any activity which sustains the individual himself. It is sometimes difficult to make a clear distinction.
To establish the ethogram, we ask ourselves questions
- The animal must feed itself in order to survive: where, when, how, why?
- He must maintain social relations with other members of his species: how?
- What are the means of communication?
In order to answer these questions and many others, we come to establish a “checklist” that will serve as a starting point.
Subsequently, we can use these units of action to classify their functions and behaviors.
- Epimeletic ( maternal )
- Et-epileptic ( application for the care of young people )
- Agonistic ( conflict resolution )
What is the point of knowing and classifying the various behaviors of a species?
- It is to better understand the needs of the species in question in order to better plan our relations with it.