Questions tagged [ethology]

The scientific study of animal behaviour, and a sub-topic of zoology.

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12
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1answer
7k views

Do dolphins attack dangerous sharks?

I've heard numerous anecdotal claims of people being rescued from shark attacks by dolphins. One source mentions that such rescues happen "surprisingly often", and cites three unreferenced incidents, ...
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4answers
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Are some breeds of dog inherently dangerous, despite training?

On another SE site, this report was cited as evidence that some breeds of dogs are inherently more dangerous than others. I have some serious issues with that report (not least of which is that it is ...
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1answer
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Will cats eat their deceased owner, but dogs will starve to death instead?

A friend of mine is a former prosecutor for the Crown/State. He's observed that it was often harder to investigate whether a deceased person was murdered when they own cats because the cats will eat ...
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1answer
656 views

Do elephants never forget?

There is a ubiquitous belief that "elephants never forget". I know we aren't suggesting that elephants have unlimited memory, but have there ever been any scientific studies/case studies that suggest ...
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1answer
4k views

Do elephants like to get drunk?

While answering the question about elephants and mice, I was reminded of a clip I saw on The Big Bang Theory. The common lore is that they eat the fermenting fruit of the Marula Tree. But that makes ...
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2answers
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Do cats always come back home from anywhere?

It is said that no matter how far you take away a cat from home, it always come back from anywhere. Is that true? Obviously, this pre-supposes that: Home is some place that the cat lived in for a ...
78
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1answer
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Do Ostriches bury their heads in the sand

I have always believed that Ostriches when frightened bury their heads in the sand. Upon closer re-examination of this belief, I came to the following conclusions: Ostriches typically live in arid ...
187
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4answers
29k views

Will a mother bird abandon her young if touched by a human?

Welcome to installment #2 of my "the science of animals falling" series of questions.... I've heard it said many times since childhood that if you are to find a baby bird on the ground which appears ...
22
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2answers
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Do dogs know when their owner is coming home through some form of telepathic link?

My friend cited a study by Rupert Sheldrake which ran an experiment over several years that video taped dogs, showing that dogs knew when their owner was coming home due to some psychic link. He ...
18
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4answers
8k views

Is eating cloven-hoofed animals, bottom-feeders or ruminants bad for you?

The Torah and Talmud claim (and I have Christian friends that also claim) that eating animals that are bottom-feeders or ruminants—That is, eat the crud off the sea-floor, like shrimp, or digest ...
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3answers
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Do lemmings commit suicide by jumping off cliffs?

Lemmings have become widely known for their supposed tendency to run en masse off of cliffs to their deaths. The term "lemming" has even become a commonly used metaphor to describe the behavior of ...
56
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1answer
15k views

Are humans the only species to have homophobes?

Here's a quote that's being passed around: Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is only found in one. Which one seems unnatural now? With all the good intentions behind what's ...
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5answers
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Are humans the only species that hunts down competitors, denies and destroys food for others?

In the book Ishmael, there's a passage that claims "Takers" (i.e. modern man) are the only thing in nature that hunt down competitors, destroy or otherwise deny someone else food. Are there strong ...
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2answers
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Insects as food: Is it feasible for humans to replace traditional “livestock” meat with insects?

I have heard of some benefits of insects as food, but are there any drawbacks? I've never heard of a human culture whose primary protein intake came exclusively from insects. Would someone ...
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4answers
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Can a fungus or other parasites turn a high order animal into a zombie that carries out specific actions?

The discovery of several new ant zombie fungi got a lot of media attention over the last two weeks. The fungi take hold over ants and cause them to carry out specific actions beneficial to the ...

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