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Proximate and Ultimate Causes of Animal Behaviour. The beewolf wasp ( Philanthus triangulum ). Beewolf wasp burrows. Niko Tinbergen: one of the founders of ethology. The Scientific Method. Observation and causal question H ypothesis P redictions Test of predictions Conclusion.

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Presentation Transcript
the scientific method
The Scientific Method
  • Observation and causal question
  • Hypothesis
  • Predictions
  • Test of predictions
  • Conclusion
the scientific method1
The Scientific Method
  • Observation and causal question: Beewolves find the entrance to their own nests. How do they do it?
  • Hypothesis: They use local landmarks as cues
  • Predictions: If they use local landmarks then manipulating those landmarks should mislead them
  • Test of predictions: Experiments
  • Conclusion: Yes, local landmarks are used by beewolves as cues in finding own nest

Black-headed gull

… and its chicks

the scientific method2
The Scientific Method
  • Observationand causal question - black headed gulls remove eggshells. Why did black headed gulls evolve behaviour of eggshell removal?
  • Hypothesis - maybe this behaviour helps parent gulls to conceal their offspring from predators
  • Predictions - if so, broken eggshells should help predators find food
  • Test of predictions - experiment
  • Conclusion - yes, eggshell removal

appears to help parent gulls conceal

offspring from predators




Black-headed gull



Solitary nesting

Nest predators

Immediate eggshell removal


Group nesting

No nest predators

No eggshell removal

Black-headed gull

Group nesting

Nest predation present

Delayed eggshell removal