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Animal Behavior

Aristotle, different perspectives, Animal Behavior, nurture, right time

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Animal Behavior, the way different kinds of animals behave, which has fascinated inquiring minds since at least the time of Plato and Aristotle. Particularly intriguing has been the ability of simple creatures to perform complicated tasks—weave a web, build a nest, sing a song, find a home, or capture food—at just the right time with little or no instruction. Such behavior can be viewed from two quite different perspectives, discussed below: Either animals learn everything they do (from “nurture”), or they know what to do instinctively (from “nature”). Neither extreme has proven to be correct.


Gould, Carol Grant, Ph.D.

Research Associate, Department of Biology, Princeton University. Contributor to ''Harper's'', ''The Sciences'', ''New Scientist'', ''Science'81'', and other publications.

Gould, James L., B.S., Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University. Coauthor of ''In Search of the Animal Mind'', ''Chance and Causation'', and other books.

Article key phrases:

Aristotle, different perspectives, Animal Behavior, nurture, right time, nest, intriguing, web, song, food, nature, extreme, minds, instruction

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