Ethology Course

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Ethology is the study of animal behavior in the natural environment.

Ethology is one of the most important and fundamental courses in your curriculum. Without a reliable knowledge about animal behavior, we can’t expect to create a gratifying relationship with our pets or the animals we train. Some of the content is at an advanced level and requires increased dedication from your part. The course’s final test focuses on the most important points—so don’t worry if a few questions seem to be harder to understand. You will appreciate them better once you continue your studies. You should, preferably, have taken evolution before you enroll in ethology.

Course level: Intermediate to advanced.

Content of the book and course

"Ethology—The Study of Animal Behavior in the Natural Environment" by Roger Abrantes.

“Ethology—The Study of Animal Behavior in the Natural Environment” by Roger Abrantes.

Roger Abrantes wrote “Ethology—the study of animal behavior in the natural environment” for his students as their primary textbook on this all-important topic. The book is a must for everyone seriously interested in understanding animal behavior—and the best possible introduction to this fascinating subject-matter. You can take this course as part of a program granting a diploma or as a single course.

Ethology” is an appealing and beautifully illustrated book. It addresses its questions to the point with sound, scientific explanations. It is not cluttered with footnotes. The author chose to keep all references to an extensive list at the end of the book. You read it as fluently as a novel—its narrative is compelling. The online version, which you get when you enroll in this course, has the advantage of giving you all updates at no extra course. Once you enroll in this course, you can return anytime you like, re-read the book or check the updates. If you like, you can also attempt to achieve a better test score.

Chapter 1 Ethology—history and principles.
Chapter 2 Genetics and behavior.
Chapter 3 Evolutionary strategies.
Chapter 4 Sexual behavior.
Chapter 5 Instinct and learning.
Chapter 6 Communication.
Chapter 7 Social behavior.
Chapter 8 Agonistic behavior.
Chapter 9 Animal economics and intelligence.
Chapter 10 Evolutionary perspectives.

Lesson one of this course consists of a movie about how Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace conceived the theory of evolution by means of natural selection. It is a compelling story.

Lesson two consists of two absorbing movies dealing with imprinting and animal communication.

Lesson three consists of the main textbook “Ethology.”

One-on-one online tutoring

Watch the movie and read the book(s). If you have any question, please click “Contact Course Teacher.” Your teacher will answer your question as soon as possible.

Once you’re ready for it, take the tests. You may take a test as many times as you like. We recommend you re-take tests once a year as a self-imposed quality control.

Warming you up for the Ethology course

To warm you up for the Ethology course, we leave you here with “Animal Behavior – CrashCourse Biology.” As a sort of training your ability to observe (watch and listen), and become a critical thinker, we invite you to uncover one little mistake in the video you’re about to see. Once you’ve detected it, post it on our Ethology Institute Students* Facebook page. Hint: The function of a knife is to cut; its purpose is to cut well.

*To have access to the Ethology Institute Students Facebook page, you must be a student, which you become automatically once you enroll in one course.


Ethology Lesson Three

Length: 28 minutesAuthor: Roger AbrantesComplexity: Hard

Ethology—history and principles, genetics and behavior, evolutionary strategies, sexual behavior, instinct and learning, communication, social behavior, agonistic behavior, animal economics and intelligence, evolutionary perspectives.