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Ethology

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Ethology is the sub-field of zoology concerned with the study of the behaviour of animals. The field emerged in the late 19th century and was pioneered by French zoologist Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire and American entomologist William Morton Wheeler. In the mid 20th century, following the modern synthesis of Evolution and Genetics Konrad Lorenz and Niko Tinbergen developed the modern field of ethology, based on evolutionary theory.

In the 1970s ethology produced the field of sociobiology, or social ethology, the study of animal behaviour in groups. The field also has strong connections with the field of comparative psychology, and thus evolutionary psychology.

Another branch of ethology pioneered by the late zoologist Donald Griffin is cognitive ethology. This investigates animal Consciousness, self-awareness and general cognition and argues (much as Darwin did) that animal’s minds differ from human not in kind but in degree.

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