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Science has gone very far,but not too far,in helping mankind to understand better the world around us.In actual fact,one need to imagine what life,especially nowadays,would be if science is removed from our knowledge.And with scientific attitude,it became easy for scientists to contribute their quota in different fields of study.One very challenging field that emerged as a branch of zoology is ethology,a field specifically reserved for the study of animal's innate behavior.Coined from Greek language,ethos,meaning "character," and logos,interpreted as "knowledge," ethology is distinct as a science discipline and is therefore different from the study of learned behavior of animals,a social science discipline, called psychology.

Innate behaviors are genetically programmed,and ethology did not take its present form without the hardwork of great scientists and Nobel Prize winners like Konrad Lorenz, Karl von Frisch and Niko Tinbergen,over a period of two decades ,beginning from 1930.In fact,these gurus are generally called the "father of ethology."

As a unique discipline,in what ways can ethology help us?First,because it is closely connected to neuroanatomy(a branch of anatomy that studies the anatomical organization of the nervous system),ethology can help us to obtain better reasons why man and other animals experience nutritional disorders.

Secondly,by studying instinctive behavior of animals,scientists stand the chance of gathering information that could help us in the field of nanotechnology and hence,produce new robots,better able to solve the problem of man and even read the mind of other animals,for better and enhanced management.Someday,and not quite long in the future,scientists may be able to design robotic baboons,that would live in the forest alongside the real baboons.Provision would then be made to monitor their activity from a central administrative office,located at the entrance of the forest.This discovery may eventually reduce forest labor and the energy being dissipated daily in forest management.

A great deal of research and knowledge of ethology may be useful to emerging opportunities in the field of medicine,especially cloning.But,in what way ?For animals,it is possible to transfer very complex behaviors through genes.Ants,for example,are not thought to run errands or perform functions.Whether soldier ,workers,queen,or the king, every member of the group is able to function appropriately.With cloning,and of course,genetic engineering,such instinctive behaviors could be studied,manipulated,and used as a basis to solve stubborn health problems(for example,hypertension)in man and other animals.

Genes are the primary basis of life.Since the study of instinctive behaviors is directly connected to genes,it is possible to expect that in the near future,ethology would help man to improve animal husbandry and answer some questions concerning microbes and poultry.In particular,our experience with bird flu in the past one decade is a cause for concern,and advances in ethology will definitely offer new directions!

What's more? The future of ethology will be of great benefit to mankind.We will be able to solve nutritional problems,design new and more effective robots,reduce hypertension,and improve animal husbandry.





More about this author: Adewale Olowode

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