Many of us derive inspiration from watching natural history documentaries and their astounding catalogue of wild animal behaviours. In this course, we will explore how scientists study animal behaviour, and in particular how behaviour is shaped by the evolutionary forces of natural and sexual selection. Topics include resource acquisition; avoiding enemies; mate choice and sexual conflict; cues, signals and communication; parental care and social behaviour; and the role of genes, environments and learning in regulating behavioural diversity. We draw on examples from across the animal kingdom to illustrate the complex mechanisms underlying adaptations, and complement these with natural history videos that highlight key concepts. We evaluate the scientific rigour of studies used to test theory, and highlight the often ingenious methods adopted by researchers to understand animal behaviour.
This course will help you understand the remarkable behaviours of wild animals from an evolutionary perspective.
[Image: Peacock spider. Photo by Jürgen Otto, Manakin bird footage (Ex-Riddle of the Sexes) reproduced with permission, courtesy of BBC Worldwide Ltd]
Kristina Šekrst completed this course and found the course difficulty to be easy.
I'm extremely glad that I have taken this course, even though I had some trouble deciding whether I'll take it or not, since it was a bit time-consuming. I'm glad I have, this is one of the best courses I have ever seen. The real-life examples and fascinating...
I'm extremely glad that I have taken this course, even though I had some trouble deciding whether I'll take it or not, since it was a bit time-consuming. I'm glad I have, this is one of the best courses I have ever seen. The real-life examples and fascinating stories about animal world have clearly stated sources, which is great if you want to dig up further. There are two big assignments along with the quizzes, the first one is to sum up a scientific articles into something that a layman could read, and the second one was to observe animals in the wild, in your neighborhood or via webcam, and to track their behavior. That way everybody could do it, since the instructors provided lots of webcam links to various animals - in ZOOs or natural habitat. This course is a PERFECT BLEND of theory and practice, and I'd recommend it to everyone. It got me interested in animal science, and it's wonderful to see the course Facebook group still being alive and full of interesting articles and discussions. My best recommendations for this amazing course!