Introduction to Animal Behaviour (edX)

Introduction to Animal Behaviour (edX)
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Introduction to Animal Behaviour (edX)
Explore the amazing range and complexity of wild animal behaviour. Discover how animals learn, communicate, find food, avoid predators, and interact socially. Do you want to understand how and why animals behave the way they do, and how we test hypotheses about behaviour scientifically? This biology and life sciences course provides an introduction to the complexities of wild animal behaviour, and how it is studied.

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Over six weeks, learners will explore the various behaviours animals adopt in order to meet the challenges of their daily lives. We begin with how animals learn and communicate with each other, then move on to discuss how they find food, avoid predators, choose their mates, and rear their offspring.




This course is aimed at anyone looking to broaden their understanding of animal behaviour beyond nature documentaries or a typical high school education. No previous knowledge is required, only curiosity and enthusiasm for the subject.


What you'll learn:

- Key concepts to understand animal behaviour

- The fascinating range and complexity of behaviour in animals

- How scientific hypotheses are developed and tested

- How animals learn and communicate

- Animals' reproductive behaviour

- How animals function socially


Course Syllabus


Week 1: The science of animal behaviour

An introduction to key concepts for studying animal behaviour, including evolution, natural selection, anthropomorphism, and the scientific method.


Week 2: Learning, cognition and development

How animals learn to adjust their behaviour to their environment, and how they use their mental abilities to solve practical problems.


Week 3: Communication

An introduction to the various means animals use to send signals to each other, and how these signals are influenced by the environment and social context.


Week 4: Finding food and avoiding predators

How animals find and exploit food resources, and how they avoid becoming food themselves.


Week 5: Mating systems and parental care

The complexities of creating the next generation, from finding and competing for a mate to rearing offspring.


Week 6: Living in groups

The costs and benefits of living with others, how complex social groups arise, and why some animals forego reproduction to help others breed.



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