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The evolution of behaviour, and integrating it towards a complete and correct understanding of behavioural biology

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image of Animal Biology

Tinbergen suggested there are four major aims or questions in ethology. All of these contribute to the larger single question of why animals behave as they do. Here, I emphasise one aim, to understand the evolution of behaviour. Using studies of sexual communication in túngara frogs (Physalaemus pustulosus) I attempt to illustrate how an analysis of the past evolution of behaviour can contribute to our understanding of its current function and the details of the mechanisms guiding it. I argue that integration of Tinbergen's four questions not only give us a more complete understanding of the biology of behaviour, it might be necessary to give us a correct understanding.


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