Zoology

How Ethology might help us



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Why does hair stand up on a cat's back when they are scared? Same reason we get goosebumps. A cat will try to appear bigger and more threatening to a predator when it's scared. It's a survival technique. Our early ancestors used this same technique. Back in the day when we were covered in thick hair, those goosebumps raised our hair to look bigger. We also get goosebumps when we're cold though. A lot of animal's hair is raised when their cold too. Adding more volume to our hair lets us keep more air around our bodies, a natural insulator. Although our goosebumps are almost unnecessary to us now, we have a lot of other features of our biology that help us advance.

Why do we know these things though? We're animals, and by studying other animal's behavior, we can find reasons for our own. The study of animal behavior is called ethology. This branch of zoology studies not only psychological behavior, but instincts, and reasons and uses for physical traits.

Certain animal species have survived for millions of years on this planet, and not by chance. These animals are smart, follow instincts, and adapt easily. How can studying these behaviors help us though? By studying the laws of natural selection, our species can now choose and adopt new behaviors.

One of the common successful instincts is intelligence. Smart animals have advantages. Smart animals, despite their possible small and slow bodies, can survive longer. Our own human species is not just smart naturally, we now study and experiment-speeding up the evolution of our intelligence. By studying animals, we can study their abilities and traits, sometimes adopting them for our own.

With new technology comes to advances in medicine. If an animal has the ability to release certain chemicals into their body to ward off disease, we probably can too. We just need to use our technology to find a way to adopt that instinct. How does an animal get food? Keep parasites and disease away? Heal themselves?

How do animals learn? Most of them learn in similar ways we do. By studying their learning and teaching habits, we can reflect on it, and adapt it to the human way of doing things. Imitation learning is a big feature among the learning habits in the animal population, and we can effect this. We can teach an individual animal a skill. Within months, their animal group will adopt this skill, and when they have young, they will be taught the same skill. Through studies, we have introduced many advantages among animal species! We can learn more efficiently in the same way. Today parent's teach more than survival skills at a young age. Mothers will teach children how to read, eat healthy, and cook.

Also, through animal species, we found hands-on learning to be much more effective. Parents of an animal species will teach their young new skills by bringing them to the site and actually showing them how. Watching, learning, and doing are more effective that what humans sometimes do-just read about it.

Among the millions of animal species out there, there are millions of features that benefit intelligence, survival and well-being. Through our new technology we can adopt most of these features, allowing humans to further our evolution!

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More about this author: Brenna Mae

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