Beer, Colin G.
Because the main criterion of structural homology (the principle of connections) does not exist for behavioral homology, the utility of the ethological concept of homology has been questioned. The confidence with which behavioral homologies can be claimed varies inversely with taxonomic distance. Thus, conjectures about long-range phylogenetic…
Darwin's evolutionary theory was the starting point for ethology, associated with an impact on scientific psychiatry. Psychiatry and ethology have common scientific and methodological prerequisites: inductive and deductive methods and "gestalt theory" as a basis for observing and describing behaviour patterns with subsequent causal analysis. There have been early endeavours to anchor ethological thinking in psychiatry but this tendency did not prevail for the following reasons: on the one hand, the methodology of ethology was immature or not applicable to man, whereas on the other hand the dominating experiential phenomenological school of Karl Jaspers and Kurt Schneider stressed the privileged position of human thinking, perception, and feeling. These fundamental categories of human existence did not appear amenable to any causal ethological analysis. Psychiatry and evolutionary biology were linked in an atrocious manner during the Nazi regime, both being abused for propaganda purposes and genocide. More recently, there is a "reconciliation" of both disciplines. In psychiatric nosology, operational, behaviour-oriented diagnostic systems have been introduced; ethology has opened up for theories of learning; new subsections like human ethology and sociobiology have evolved. The seeming incompatibility of (behavioural) biological psychiatry and experiential phenomenological psychopathology may be overcome on the basis of Konrad Lorenz' evolutionary epistemology. The functional analysis of human feeling and behaviour in psychotic disorders on the basis of Jackson's theory of the evolution and dissolution of the nervous system may serve as an example. The significance of an "ethological psychiatry" for diagnostic and therapeutical processes of psychiatric disorders derive from prognostic possibilities and the analysis of non-verbal communication in therapist-patient-interactions, but have not yet been systematically investigated.
Mahoney, G J
Language is initially a social or communicative event that develops from the nonverbal communication system existing between caretaker and child. While language in an adult speaker is used for reasons other than social communication, the communication function is the primary source for language acquistion, other language functions being derivatives of this basic function. A few studies were cited which suggest that the normal process of language acquisition may be conceived heuristically in terms of an ethological or psychosoical framework. This ethological approach to language acquisition suggests that noncognitive, interpersonal factors may be major contributors to the slow pace of language development among mentally retarded and autistic children. The implications of this approach were discussed in terms of the design of language-intervention programs.
Lim, ChenKim; Tan, KianLam
In the virtual world, the simulation of flocking behaviour has been actively investigated since the 1980 through the boid models. However, ethology is a niche study of animal behaviour from the biological perspective that is rarely instil in the interest of the younger learners nowadays. The keystone of the research is to be able to disseminate the study of animal behaviours through the boid model with the aid of technology. Through the simulation, complex movement of animal behaviours are reproduced based on the extension of basic behaviours of boid algorithm. The techniques here are to (i) Analyse a high-level behavioural framework of motion in the animal behaviours and (ii) Evolves particles to other animal representations to portray more real-time examples of steering behaviours. Although the generality of the results is limited by the number of case study, it also supports the hypothesis that interactive simulation system of virtual ethology can aid the improvement of animal studies.
Omark, Donald R.; Edelman, Murray S.
The ethological approach may become an important methodology in the developmental studies of children. The ethological approach takes into consideration the total world of the child, social and cognitive, when the child's development in that world is analyzed. Information can be obtained both from studies of other primates (for example, the study…
How does music induce or evoke feeling states in listeners? A number of mechanisms have been proposed for how sounds induce emotions, including innate auditory responses, learned associations and mirror neuron processes. Inspired by ethology, it is suggested that the ethological concepts of signals, cues and indices offer additional analytic tools for better understanding induced affect. It is proposed that ethological concepts help explain why music is able to induce only certain emotions, why some induced emotions are similar to the displayed emotion (whereas other induced emotions differ considerably from the displayed emotion), why listeners often report feeling mixed emotions and why only some musical expressions evoke similar responses across cultures.
How does music induce or evoke feeling states in listeners? A number of mechanisms have been proposed for how sounds induce emotions, including innate auditory responses, learned associations and mirror neuron processes. Inspired by ethology, it is suggested that the ethological concepts of signals, cues and indices offer additional analytic tools for better understanding induced affect. It is proposed that ethological concepts help explain why music is able to induce only certain emotions, why some induced emotions are similar to the displayed emotion (whereas other induced emotions differ considerably from the displayed emotion), why listeners often report feeling mixed emotions and why only some musical expressions evoke similar responses across cultures. PMID:25646521
For the past two decades, it has widely been assumed by linguists that there is a single computational operation, Merge, which is unique to language, distinguishing it from other cognitive domains. The intention of this paper is to progress the discussion of language evolution in two ways: (i) survey what the ethological record reveals about the uniqueness of the human computational system, and (ii) explore how syntactic theories account for what ethology may determine to be human-specific. It is shown that the operation Label, not Merge, constitutes the evolutionary novelty which distinguishes human language from non-human computational systems; a proposal lending weight to a Weak Continuity Hypothesis and leading to the formation of what is termed Computational Ethology. Some directions for future ethological research are suggested. PMID:26089809
Pegoraro, Luiz F L; Setz, Eleonore Z F; Dalgalarrondo, Paulo
The purpose of the study was to develop a new ethogram for the assessment of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and intellectual developmental disorder (IDD) and to test whether this instrument accurately distinguishes ASD participants (n = 61) from IDD participants (n = 61). An ethogram with 88 behavior elements was generated, including body postures, verbalizations, facial expressions, motor stereotypies, head postures, gaze behavior, gestures, and interpersonal distance. Significant differences were detected between both groups in classic ASD behaviors; in behaviors that are deficient in ASD according to established theoretical models, such as symbolic play, gaze direction, gaze following, and use of mental state language; in atypical behaviors that have also been described previously in ethological studies with ASD; and in the nonspecific behaviors of ASD, such as walk, look own body, explore, and cry. The predictive success of a diagnosis of ASD in the logistic regression model with the ethogram's factors was 98.4%. The results suggest that this ethogram is a powerful and useful tool for both the detailed study of the social behaviors of autistic children and adolescents, and for discriminating ASD and IDD.
The neurosciences embrace many disciplines, some long established, others of more recent origin. Behavioral endocrinology has only recently been fully acknowledged as a branch of neuroscience, distinctive for the determination of some of its exponents to remain integrative in the face of the many pressures towards reductionism that so dominate modern biology. One of its most characteristic features is a commitment to research at the whole-animal level on the physiological basis of complex behaviors, with a particular but by no means exclusive focus on reproductive behavior in all its aspects. The search for rigorously defined principles of behavioral organization that apply across species and the hormonal and neural mechanisms that sustain them underlies much of the research. Their aims are much like those put forth in the classical ethology of Lorenz and Tinbergen, one of the roots from which behavioral endocrinology has sprung. But there are others that can be traced back a century or more. Antecedents can be found in the work of such pioneers as Jakob von Uexküll, Jacques Loeb, Herbert Spencer Jennings, and particularly Charles Otis Whitman who launched a tradition that culminated in the classical contributions of Robert Hinde and Daniel Lehrman. William C. Young was another pioneer. His studies revolutionized thinking about the physiological mechanisms by which hormones influence behavior. An earlier potent influence was Karl Lashley who helped to shape the career of Frank Ambrose Beach who, more than anyone, has played a leading role in launching this new field.
Peters, Suzanne M; Pothuizen, Helen H J; Spruijt, Berry M
The translational value of animal models is an issue of ongoing discussion. We argue that 'Refinement' of animal experiments is needed and this can be achieved by exploiting an ethological approach when setting up and conducting experiments. Ethology aims to assess the functional meaning of behavioral changes, due to experimental manipulation or treatment, in animal models. Although the use of ethological concepts is particularly important for studies involving the measurement of animal behavior (as is the case for most studies on neuro-psychiatric conditions), it will also substantially benefit other disciplines, such as those investigating the immune system or inflammatory response. Using an ethological approach also involves using more optimal testing conditions are employed that have a biological relevance to the animal. Moreover, using a more biological relevant analysis of the data will help to clarify the functional meaning of the modeled readout (e.g. whether it is psychopathological or adaptive in nature). We advocate for instance that more behavioral studies should use animals in group-housed conditions, including the recording of their ultrasonic vocalizations, because (1) social behavior is an essential feature of animal models for human 'social' psychopathologies, such as autism and schizophrenia, and (2) social conditions are indispensable conditions for appropriate behavioral studies in social species, such as the rat. Only when taking these elements into account, the validity of animal experiments and, thus, the translation value of animal models can be enhanced.
Figueredo, Aurelio Jose; And Others
A quantitative ethogram was developed for the zebra finch, using one-zero focal animal sampling on an ethologically comprehensive checklist of 52 behavioral items, and it was assessed for interobserver reliability and construct validity. Applying the quantitative methods of psychometrics allows verification of ethological theory and testing of…
Gomez-Marin, Alex; Paton, Joseph J; Kampff, Adam R; Costa, Rui M; Mainen, Zachary F
Behavior is a unifying organismal process where genes, neural function, anatomy and environment converge and interrelate. Here we review the current state and discuss the future effect of accelerating advances in technology for behavioral studies, focusing on rodents as an example. We frame our perspective in three dimensions: the degree of experimental constraint, dimensionality of data and level of description. We argue that 'big behavioral data' presents challenges proportionate to its promise and describe how these challenges might be met through opportunities afforded by the two rival conceptual legacies of twentieth century behavioral science, ethology and psychology. We conclude that, although 'more is not necessarily better', copious, quantitative and open behavioral data has the potential to transform and unify these two disciplines and to solidify the foundations of others, including neuroscience, but only if the development of new theoretical frameworks and improved experimental designs matches the technological progress.
Cohn, J; MacPhail, R C
Laboratory research in toxicology has progressed far beyond reliance on measures of mortality to make use of sophisticated behavioral preparations that can evaluate the consequences of sublethal toxicant exposure. In contrast, field studies have not evolved as rapidly. Approaches developed by experimental psychologists and ethologists provide powerful and complementary methodologies to the study of environmental pollutants and behavior. Observational data collection techniques can easily be used to broaden the number of questions addressed regarding sublethal exposure to toxic agents in both field and laboratory environments. This paper provides a background in such techniques, including construction of ethograms and observational methodologies, and the use of laboratory analogues to naturally occurring activities such as social behavior, predation, and foraging. Combining ethological and experimental approaches in behavior analysis can result in a more comprehensive evaluation of the effects of environmental contaminants on behavior. PMID:9182036
Mackey, W C; Johnson, J W
Using an ethological model, we deduced a prediction concerning gender dimorphism in a visual anomaly from a re-construction of the phylogeny of man. The prediction, which is based on four premises, is that deficits in distance vision (myopia) would be more prevalent in contemporaneous women than in men. Data collected in a de facto double-blind method support the prediction, and thereby support the unique efficacy in using an ethological model to understand facets of the contemporary human condition.
Porro, G; Dekker, E; Van Nieuwenhuizen, O; Wittebol-Post, D; Schilder, M; Schenk-Rootlieb, A; Treffers, W
BACKGROUND/AIMS—Visual functions of neurologically impaired children with permanent cerebral visual impairment (CVI) can be difficult to determine. This study investigated the behavioural profile of CVI children by means of ethological observations in order to gain a better understanding of their visual functions. METHODS—Video registrations of nine subjects who were unable to undergo more orthodox methods of visual function testing were observed and analysed by an ethologist. RESULTS—A series of behaviours (direct signs) and supportive or confirming behavioural elements (indirect signs) indicating some visual perception in the children were found. CONCLUSION—Detailed ethological observations of visual behaviour were shown to be useful for analysing visual functions of children with permanent CVI. Keywords: cerebral visual impairment; visual function; visual behaviour; ethological analysis PMID:9924323
Sütterlin, Christa; Schiefenhövel, Wulf; Lehmann, Christian; Forster, Johanna; Apfelauer, Gerhard
In recent years, the fine arts, architecture, music and literature have increasingly been examined from the vantage point of human ethology and evolutionary psychology. In 2011 the authors formed the research group 'Ethology of the Arts' concentrating on the evolution and biology of perception and behaviour. These novel approaches aim at a better understanding of the various facets represented by the arts by taking into focus possible phylogenetic adaptations, which have shaped the artistic capacities of our ancestors. Rather than culture specificity, which is stressed e.g. by cultural anthropology and numerous other disciplines, universal human tendencies to perceive, feel, think and behave are postulated. Artistic expressive behaviour is understood as an integral part of the human condition, whether expressed in ritual, visual, verbal or musical art. The Ethology of the Arts-group's research focuses on visual and verbal art, music and built environment/architecture and is designed to contribute to the incipient interdisciplinarity in the field of evolutionary art research.
Dixon, A K
Ethological strategies for defence in animals and humans are expressed as either aggression or flight behaviour. Aggression is employed by animals during intraspecific competition for resources, mate, territory and acquiring and maintaining social status. It also disperses individuals throughout the biotope. Flight behaviour is used to avoid a source of danger or harm, has both dynamic arid static forms, is phylogenetically very old and takes precedence over all other activities including social behaviour. Animals exposed to inescapable threats or attacks exhibit a characteristic defensive strategy, arrested flight, which consists of gaze-avoidance or cut-offs, cryptic postures such as immobility and covert surveillance of their surroundings. Arrested flight also occurs in social encounters when submission fails to reduce attacks, and in prey animals when escape from a predator is hampered. Ethological studies show that during interviews, depressed patients exhibit a pattern of non-verbal behaviour having all the hallmarks of arrested flight. Cut-off behaviour, which seeks to reduce the input of flight-evoking stimuli is especially evident in these patients but takes an extreme form, i.e. eye closure, in the gaze-profiles of paranoid patients. It is proposed that cut-offs always denote the presence of incipient flight and that arrested flight is a 'last measure' defensive strategy in response to inescapable proximal threat. It can arise in humans whenever their escape routes are hampered and characterizes the behaviour of patients suffering from depression. As in animals, different pathways may lead to arrested flight in humans. In humans, defensive mechanisms also operate at the mental level through putative ego defences, the psychological function of which is to preserve self-esteem by hindering the access of disturbing emotional material into awareness. It is suggested that they function ethologically as mental cut-offs analogous to the behavioural cut-offs in
van Engeland, H; Bodnàr, F A; Bolhuis, G
Quantitative as well as qualitative aspects of the social behaviour of a group of autistic children (n = 20) and a group of primary school children (n = 20) were studied by means of an ethological method. Principal components analysis of the behaviour protocols made clear that the social behaviour of autistic children was less well organized, lacked the factor 'inferential behaviour' and was characterized by a factor 'stereotyped behaviour'. Although the autistic group showed less eye contact than the normal group, no further signs of any particular social avoidance tendency was found.
Ottoni, E B
EthoLog is a tool that aids in the transcription and timing of behavior observation sessions--experimental or naturalistic, from video/audio tapes or registering real time. It was created with Visual Basic and runs on Windows (3.x/9x). The user types the key codes for the predefined behavioral categories, and EthoLog registers their sequence and timing and saves the resulting data in ASCII output files. A sequential analysis matrix can be generated from the sequential data. The output files may be edited, converted to plain text files for printing, or exported to a spreadsheet program, such as MS Excel, for further analyses.
Canteras, N S; Mota-Ortiz, S R; Motta, S C
Classical Pavlovian fear conditioning to painful stimuli has provided the generally accepted view of a core system centered in the central amygdala to organize fear responses. Ethologically based models using other sources of threat likely to be expected in a natural environment, such as predators or aggressive dominant conspecifics, have challenged this concept of a unitary core circuit for fear processing. We discuss here what the ethologically based models have told us about the neural systems organizing fear responses. We explored the concept that parallel paths process different classes of threats, and that these different paths influence distinct regions in the periaqueductal gray - a critical element for the organization of all kinds of fear responses. Despite this parallel processing of different kinds of threats, we have discussed an interesting emerging view that common cortical-hippocampal-amygdalar paths seem to be engaged in fear conditioning to painful stimuli, to predators and, perhaps, to aggressive dominant conspecifics as well. Overall, the aim of this review is to bring into focus a more global and comprehensive view of the systems organizing fear responses.
Kraus, Michael W; Huang, Cassey; Keltner, Dacher
Tactile communication, or physical touch, promotes cooperation between people, communicates distinct emotions, soothes in times of stress, and is used to make inferences of warmth and trust. Based on this conceptual analysis, we predicted that in group competition, physical touch would predict increases in both individual and group performance. In an ethological study, we coded the touch behavior of players from the National Basketball Association (NBA) during the 2008-2009 regular season. Consistent with hypotheses, early season touch predicted greater performance for individuals as well as teams later in the season. Additional analyses confirmed that touch predicted improved performance even after accounting for player status, preseason expectations, and early season performance. Moreover, coded cooperative behaviors between teammates explained the association between touch and team performance. Discussion focused on the contributions touch makes to cooperative groups and the potential implications for other group settings.
Desmurget, Michel; Richard, Nathalie; Harquel, Sylvain; Baraduc, Pierre; Szathmari, Alexandru; Mottolese, Carmine; Sirigu, Angela
Complex motor responses are often thought to result from the combination of elemental movements represented at different neural sites. However, in monkeys, evidence indicates that some behaviors with critical ethological value, such as self-feeding, are represented as motor primitives in the precentral gyrus (PrG). In humans, such primitives have not yet been described. This could reflect well-known interspecies differences in the organization of sensorimotor regions (including PrG) or the difficulty of identifying complex neural representations in peroperative settings. To settle this alternative, we focused on the neural bases of hand/mouth synergies, a prominent example of human behavior with high ethological value. By recording motor- and somatosensory-evoked potentials in the PrG of patients undergoing brain surgery (2-60 y), we show that two complex nested neural representations can mediate hand/mouth actions within this structure: (i) a motor representation, resembling self-feeding, where electrical stimulation causes the closing hand to approach the opening mouth, and (ii) a motor-sensory representation, likely associated with perioral exploration, where cross-signal integration is accomplished at a cortical site that generates hand/arm actions while receiving mouth sensory inputs. The first finding extends to humans' previous observations in monkeys. The second provides evidence that complex neural representations also exist for perioral exploration, a finely tuned skill requiring the combination of motor and sensory signals within a common control loop. These representations likely underlie the ability of human children and newborns to accurately produce coordinated hand/mouth movements, in an otherwise general context of motor immaturity.
Henriques-Alves, Aron M; Queiroz, Claudio M
In rodents, repeated exposure to unavoidable aggression followed by sustained sensory treat can lead to prolonged social aversion. The chronic social defeat stress model explores that phenomenon and it has been used as an animal model for human depression. However, some authors have questioned whether confounding effects may arise as the model also boosts anxiety-related behaviors. Despite its wide acceptance, most studies extract limited information from the behavior of the defeated animal. Often, the normalized occupancy around the social stimulus, the interaction zone, is taken as an index of depression. We hypothesized that this parameter is insufficient to fully characterize the behavioral consequences of this form of stress. Using an ethological approach, we showed that repeated social defeat delayed the expression of social investigation in long (10 min) sessions of social interaction. Also, the incidence of defensive behaviors, including stretched-attend posture and high speed retreats, was significantly higher in defeated mice in comparison to controls. Interestingly, a subpopulation of defeated mice showed recurrent and non-habituating stretched-attend posture and persistent flights during the entire session. Two indexes were created based on defensive behaviors to show that only recurrent flights correlates with sucrose intake. Together, the present study corroborates the idea that this model of social stress can precipitate a myriad of behaviors not readily disentangled. We propose that long sessions (>150 s) and detailed ethological evaluation during social interaction tests are necessary to provide enough information to correctly classify defeated animals in terms of resilience and susceptibility to social defeat stress.
Henriques-Alves, Aron M.; Queiroz, Claudio M.
In rodents, repeated exposure to unavoidable aggression followed by sustained sensory treat can lead to prolonged social aversion. The chronic social defeat stress model explores that phenomenon and it has been used as an animal model for human depression. However, some authors have questioned whether confounding effects may arise as the model also boosts anxiety-related behaviors. Despite its wide acceptance, most studies extract limited information from the behavior of the defeated animal. Often, the normalized occupancy around the social stimulus, the interaction zone, is taken as an index of depression. We hypothesized that this parameter is insufficient to fully characterize the behavioral consequences of this form of stress. Using an ethological approach, we showed that repeated social defeat delayed the expression of social investigation in long (10 min) sessions of social interaction. Also, the incidence of defensive behaviors, including stretched-attend posture and high speed retreats, was significantly higher in defeated mice in comparison to controls. Interestingly, a subpopulation of defeated mice showed recurrent and non-habituating stretched-attend posture and persistent flights during the entire session. Two indexes were created based on defensive behaviors to show that only recurrent flights correlates with sucrose intake. Together, the present study corroborates the idea that this model of social stress can precipitate a myriad of behaviors not readily disentangled. We propose that long sessions (>150 s) and detailed ethological evaluation during social interaction tests are necessary to provide enough information to correctly classify defeated animals in terms of resilience and susceptibility to social defeat stress. PMID:26869895
A Mars mission is a new challenge for scientific investigators in the space field. What would be the behavioral profile of an interplanetary crew with long-duration social isolation and spatial restriction? The current study addresses this question with the first ethological data from the Mars-500 experiment. It took place in Moscow, Russia from June 3, 2010 to November 4, 2011. It was designed to simulate the living and working conditions of an isolated and confined crew over 250 days for reaching Mars, 30 days for Mars orbiting with Mars landing and 240 days for returning to Earth. The Mars-500 crew was composed of three Russians, two Europeans and one Chinese. The Mars-500 facilities comprised four hermetically sealed, interconnected modules and a Martian surface module. We applied the ethological method based on observation, description and quantification of the individual and inter-individual behaviors in terms of personal actions, visual interactions, object interactions, body interactions, facial expressions and collateral acts. These events were scored on the Observer XT® software, from video recordings made every two weeks at breakfast time inside the habitat module. We found the following results: a diminishing collective time from the first phase corresponding to the 250-day trip to Mars to the second phase corresponding to the 240-day return to Earth; 35-day cycles then 70-day cycles of high duration of personal actions within these phases; periodic oscillations of duration of inter-personal actions; decreasing then increasing occurrences of facial expressions with temporal points of decrements, around day 159 and day 355, after 6 months and one year of simulation; increasing occurrences of collateral acts over the full 520-day journey. We discuss the findings with regard to a Mars mission scenario. Time has a major impact on the behavioral profile, as shown by indicators of physical and psychological states of fatigue, stress, well being and good
White, David J
The interrelationships among individuals in gregarious species can have profound effects on the animals' behavior, physiology, and even health. Captive housing should address the social needs of such species because failure to do so can result in the development and expression of abnormal behavior. But determining what social stimuli to provide for any given species poses many challenges. I review recent work on brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater) that was designed to identify the social stimuli critical for effective development and breeding. The work demonstrates the importance of social experiences in organizing reproductive physiology and behavior, so much so that inattention to these experiences can lead to misinterpretation of the function and mechanisms of the birds' behavior. There are no general rules applicable to all social species, however. Determining the social conditions needed for members of any species requires an ethological approach that evaluates the sensory, cognitive, and ecological characteristics of the species and considers those characteristics in the design of captive housing and research.
This study is focused on the shout of the babbler Turdoides squamiceps, as a model for interpreting the meaning of the variations in animal vocal expressions, using a 'musical-ethological approach'. Vocalizations were recorded in nature, where all babblers were individually marked. The field events were classified into different communicative categories, and the recordings of 170 shouts of the eight most intensively studied babblers, were analyzed with respect to the 'basic rules' observed in music. Visually defined 'variation types' and mathematically defined musical variables of the variations were related to the birds' field behaviour in order to determine the correlations between the variations and the different categories. The results indicate the existence of variations in the babbler shout that may be important for communication. Border situations were accompanied by longer 'syllable variations' and by an increase in the musical variables, which were defined according to the 'basic rules' observed in music. Other, more subtle variations of the intensity curves could be related to motivations such as joining the group members or searching for affiliation. An increase in the distance between communicating babblers was accompanied by an increase in the number of syllables per shout. It is suggested that this is because the variations in the tempo and staccato are better identified in long shouts with many syllables. It is suggested that variations in vocal expressions play a role in animal communication. The resemblance of the 'basic musical factors' of the variations in the babbler shout to the basic rules observed in human speech intonation and in music suggests that the same set of rules may be found in many other animals. Thus, it is appropriate to apply certain musical terms to animal communication.
Walsh, J; Desbonnet, L; Clarke, N; Waddington, J L; O'Tuathaigh, C M P
Disrupted-in-schizophrenia-1 (DISC1) is a gene that has been functionally linked with neurodevelopmental processes and structural plasticity in the brain. Clinical genetic investigations have implicated DISC1 as a genetic risk factor for schizophrenia and related psychoses. Studies using mutant mouse models of DISC1 gene function have demonstrated schizophrenia-related anatomical and behavioral endophenotypes. In the present study, ethologically based assessment of exploratory and habituation behavior in the open field was conducted in DISC1 (L100P), wild-type (WT), heterozygous (HET), and homozygous (HOM) mutant mice of both sexes. Ethological assessment was conducted in an open-field environment to explore specific topographies of murine exploratory behavior across the extended course of interaction from initial exploration through subsequent habituation (the ethogram). During initial exploration, HET and HOM DISC1 mutants evidenced increased levels of locomotion and rearing to wall compared with WT. A HOM-specific increase in total rearing and a HET-specific increase in sifting behavior and reduction in rearing seated were also observed. Over subsequent habituation, locomotion, sniffing, total rearing, rearing to wall, rearing free, and rearing seated were increased in HET and HOM mutants vs. WT. Overall, grooming was increased in HOM relative to other genotypes. HET mice displayed a selective decrease in habituation of sifting behavior. These data demonstrate impairment in both initial exploratory and habituation of exploration in a novel environment in mice with mutation of DISC1. This is discussed in the context of the functional role of the gene vis à vis a schizophrenia phenotype as well as the value of ethologically based approaches to behavioral phenotyping.
Bennur, Sharath; Tsunada, Joji; Cohen, Yale E; Liu, Robert C
Acoustic communication between animals requires them to detect, discriminate, and categorize conspecific or heterospecific vocalizations in their natural environment. Laboratory studies of the auditory-processing abilities that facilitate these tasks have typically employed a broad range of acoustic stimuli, ranging from natural sounds like vocalizations to "artificial" sounds like pure tones and noise bursts. However, even when using vocalizations, laboratory studies often test abilities like categorization in relatively artificial contexts. Consequently, it is not clear whether neural and behavioral correlates of these tasks (1) reflect extensive operant training, which drives plastic changes in auditory pathways, or (2) the innate capacity of the animal and its auditory system. Here, we review a number of recent studies, which suggest that adopting more ethological paradigms utilizing natural communication contexts are scientifically important for elucidating how the auditory system normally processes and learns communication sounds. Additionally, since learning the meaning of communication sounds generally involves social interactions that engage neuromodulatory systems differently than laboratory-based conditioning paradigms, we argue that scientists need to pursue more ethological approaches to more fully inform our understanding of how the auditory system is engaged during acoustic communication. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled "Communication Sounds and the Brain: New Directions and Perspectives".
The objective of this presentation is to introduce the ISAE and to highlight members’ roles in the development and implementation of OIE’s animal welfare standards. Animal welfare science is a young discipline. Originally, welfare science was heavily focused on animal behavior (ethology), but it is ...
Håkansson, Kerstin; Runker, Annette E; O'Sullivan, Gerard J; Mitchell, Kevin J; Waddington, John L; O'Tuathaigh, Colm M P
Semaphorins are secreted or membrane-bound proteins implicated in neurodevelopmental processes of axon guidance and cell migration. Exploratory behaviour and motor learning was examined ethologically in Semaphorin 6A (Sema6A) mutant mice. The ethogram of initial exploration in Sema6A knockout mice was characterised by increased rearing to wall with decreased sifting; over subsequent habituation, locomotion, sniffing and rearing to wall were increased, with reduced habituation of rearing seated. Rotarod analysis indicated delayed motor learning in Sema6A heterozygous mutants. Disruption to the axonal guidance and cell migration processes regulated by Sema6A is associated with topographically specific disruption to fundamental aspects of behaviour, namely the ethogram of initial exploration and subsequent habituation to the environment, and motor learning.
Kučinić, Mladen; Previšić, Ana; Mihoci, Iva; Krpač, Vladimir; Živić, Ivana; Stojanović, Katarina; Vojvoda, Ana Mrnjavčić; Katušić, Luka
Abstract A description of the larva of Drusus plicatus Radovanović is given for the first time. The most important diagnostic characters enabling separation from larvae of the other Drusinae from the southeast Europe are listed. Molecular, ecological, and ethological features and distribution patterns of the species are given. Additionally, information on the sympatric caddisfly species of the three springs where larvae and adults of Drusus plicatus were found and presented. PMID:27408591
Xing, Xiaoyan; Zhao, Yanling; Kong, Weijun; Jia, Lei; Wang, Jiabo; Yan, Dan; Li, Ruisheng; Xiao, Xiaohe
From the view of macroscopic animal ethology combined with computer and modem image processing technique, by monitoring the temperature tropism of animal affected by traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) with different Cold and Hot natures and obtaining many behavior parameters which were difficult to assess in direct observation, the differences between the Cold and Hot nature of TCM were evaluated and presented. This method could real-time, intuitively and objectively, qualitatively and quantitatively monitor the temperature tropism of experimental animals with no disturbance. Further, the Cold and Hot nature of TCM can be expressed from the whole animal level. This method met to the application peculiarity of TCM and suited for the TCM theoretical system. It is a attempt for the study of drug nature of TCM. It also contributed to elucidate the objective authenticity and scientific connotation of Cold and Hot nature of TCM, and express the inherent connection of this nature and the temperature tropism of animal. In this review, a new point and technology platform was provided for establishing an objective method for evaluating the Cold and Hot nature of TCM, which are corresponding with the feature of the application of TCM.
This new ethological study focuses on the co-adaptation of the crew's spatial behavior to social isolation in a polar base thus simulating long-term living and working of a space team. The method consisted in drawing the subjects' position (n=13) on an observation map at the midday and evening meals at the Dumont d'Urville French station in Antarctica, daily during the summer campaigns and weekly during the winter-over of the TA46 mission. Quantitative data are presented in geocentric (positions), allocentric (distances) and egocentric (orientations) analyses with an emphasis on three adaptative periods (first 3 months, intermediary 2 months and last 3 months of isolation). Results show a large space occupancy during the first week after arrival and the last week before departure from the polar base, and a team-members' grouping during the winter-over. On the over-all time, the inter-individual distances increase. The social orientations are higher at the beginning than at the end of the mission. Discussion underlies the pertinent use of such ethological indicators collected from polar stations as predictors of well-being and optimal-working of the future orbital and planetary stations users.
Benson, Etienne S
Argument In recent decades, through the work of Jane Goodall and other ethologists, the practice of giving personal names to nonhuman animals who are the subjects of scientific research has become associated with claims about animal personhood and scientific objectivity. While critics argue that such naming practices predispose the researcher toward anthropomorphism, supporters suggest that it sensitizes the researcher to individual differences and social relations. Both critics and supporters agree that naming tends to be associated with the recognition of individual animal rights. The history of the naming of research animals since the late nineteenth century shows, however, that the practice has served a variety of purposes, most of which have raised few ethical or epistemological concerns. Names have been used to identify research animals who play dual roles as pets, workers, or patients, to enhance their market value, and to facilitate their identification in the field. The multifaceted history of naming suggests both that the use of personal names by Goodall and others is less of a radical break with previous practices than it might first appear to be and that the use of personal names to recognize the individuality, sentience, or rights of nonhuman animals faces inherent limits and contradictions.
Biology and Human Affairs, 1971
Reviews four texts and compilations of papers in an effort to assess the relevance of animal behavior studies to anthropology and sociology. Concludes that where a basic element of behavior occurs widely throughout the animal kingdom, especially in the higher mammals and primates, we may expect to find a manifestation in man." Limitations of the…
Wodarski, Rachel; Delaney, Ada; Ultenius, Camilla; Morland, Rosie; Andrews, Nick; Baastrup, Catherine; Bryden, Luke A.; Caspani, Ombretta; Christoph, Thomas; Gardiner, Natalie J.; Huang, Wenlong; Kennedy, Jeffrey D.; Koyama, Suguru; Li, Dominic; Ligocki, Marcin; Lindsten, Annika; Machin, Ian; Pekcec, Anton; Robens, Angela; Rotariu, Sanziana M.; Voß, Sabrina; Segerdahl, Marta; Stenfors, Carina; Svensson, Camilla I.; Treede, Rolf-Detlef; Uto, Katsuhiro; Yamamoto, Kazumi; Rutten, Kris; Rice, Andrew S.C.
Abstract Burrowing, an ethologically relevant rodent behaviour, has been proposed as a novel outcome measure to assess the global impact of pain in rats. In a prospective multicentre study using male rats (Wistar, Sprague-Dawley), replication of suppressed burrowing behaviour in the complete Freund adjuvant (CFA)-induced model of inflammatory pain (unilateral, 1 mg/mL in 100 µL) was evaluated in 11 studies across 8 centres. Following a standard protocol, data from participating centres were collected centrally and analysed with a restricted maximum likelihood-based mixed model for repeated measures. The total population (TP—all animals allocated to treatment; n = 249) and a selected population (SP—TP animals burrowing over 500 g at baseline; n = 200) were analysed separately, assessing the effect of excluding “poor” burrowers. Mean baseline burrowing across studies was 1113 g (95% confidence interval: 1041-1185 g) for TP and 1329 g (1271-1387 g) for SP. Burrowing was significantly suppressed in the majority of studies 24 hours (7 studies/population) and 48 hours (7 TP, 6 SP) after CFA injections. Across all centres, significantly suppressed burrowing peaked 24 hours after CFA injections, with a burrowing deficit of −374 g (−479 to −269 g) for TP and −498 g (−609 to −386 g) for SP. This unique multicentre approach first provided high-quality evidence evaluating suppressed burrowing as robust and reproducible, supporting its use as tool to infer the global effect of pain on rodents. Second, our approach provided important informative value for the use of multicentre studies in the future. PMID:27643836
Lang, Caroline; Hinchliffe, David; Brendle, Julia; Weirichl, Carmen; Hoy, Steffen
The influence of different feedstuffs on parameters of digestion and ethology in growing rabbits (duration and number of feed intake, needed masticatory movements, pH value in stomach and small intestine, dry matter content of stomach chyme, level of destruction of cell structures in small intestine) was analysed. 384 five weeks old rabbits were fed with one of three feedstuffs: pellets (mean fibre length = 3 mm), fibre blocks (mean fibre length = 40 mm) and hay-oat-beat-ration (length of hay fibre ≥ 70 mm). The masticatory movements and duration for uptake 0.1 g of feedstuffs were measured in a special observation box. Rabbits in group cages were observed by 24 h video recording and duration and numbers of feed intakes were documented. After 8 weeks rabbits were slaughtered and pH values measured in stomach chyme (and dry matter content) and small intestine. Samples of them were taken and histologically examined (total length of villi and crypts, width of villi and degree of destruction determined by scores from 0 [= no destruction] to 3 [= severe destruction of villi]). Pellets lead to a faster feed intake with a lower number of masticatory movements. This equates a minor feeding time per feed intake and a higher amount of feedstuff in a shorter time. The dry matter content in stomach chyme increases and pH value was significantly higher there, but lower in duodenum. They also showed a significantly higher degree of destruction of villi, a shorter length and a larger width of villi than others.
Pedersen, Christian Spang; Sørensen, Dorte Bratbo; Parachikova, Anna I; Plath, Niels
Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric disorder characterized by three symptom domains, positive (hallucinations, obsession), negative (social withdrawal, apathy, self-neglect) and cognitive (impairment in attention, memory and executive function). Whereas current medication ameliorates positive symptomatology, negative symptoms as well as cognitive dysfunctions remain untreated. The development of improved therapies for negative symptoms has proven particularly difficult, in part due to the inability of mimicking these in rodents. Here, we address the predictive validity of combining an ethologically well preserved behavior in rodents, namely nest building activity, with an established animal model of schizophrenia, the sub-chronic PCP model, for negative symptoms. Decline in rodent nesting activity has been suggested to mirror domains of negative symptoms of schizophrenia, including social withdrawal, anhedonia and self-neglect, whereas repeated treatment with the NMDAR antagonist PCP induces and exacerbates schizophrenia-like symptoms in rodents and human subjects. Using a back-translational approach of pharmacological validation, we tested the effects of two agents targeting the nicotinic α7 receptor (EVP-6124 and TC-5619) that were reported to exert some beneficial effect on negative symptoms in schizophrenic patients. Sub-chronic PCP treatment resulted in a significant nest building deficit in mice and treatment with EVP-6124 and TC-5619 reversed this PCP-induced deficit. In contrast, the atypical antipsychotic drug risperidone remained ineffective in this assay. In addition, EVP-6124, TC-5619 and risperidone were tested in the Social Interaction Test (SIT), an assay suggested to address negative-like symptoms. Results obtained in SIT were comparable to results in the nest building test (NEST). Based on these findings, we propose nest building in combination with the sub-chronic PCP model as a novel approach to assess negative-like symptoms of schizophrenia
Gushin, Vadim; Tafforin, Carole; Kuznetsova, Polina; Vinokhodova, Alla; Chekalina, Angelina
Several factors, such as hazard to life, reduced social communications, isolation, high workload, monotony, etc., can cause deconditioning of individual status and group dynamics in long-term spaceflight. New approaches to the assessment of group behavior are being developed in order to create necessary counter-measures and to keep optimal psychological climate in the crew. Psychological methods combined with ethological approach to dynamic monitoring of the isolated crew had been tested and validated in Mars-500 experiment. The experiment (duration of 520 days) was designed to simulate the living and working conditions of a piloted mission to Mars. The Mars-500 crew was composed of three Russians, two Europeans and one Chinese. We used psychological tests: sociometric questionnaire to assess group status (popularity) of the crewmembers (monthly), color choice test to assess the level of frustration and anxiety (twice a month). We performed observations from video recordings of group discussions (monthly) and during breakfast time (twice a month). The video analysis was supplied with a software based-solution: The Observer XT®. The results showed that occurrence of collateral acts may indicate psychological stress and fatigue in crewmembers under isolation and that facial expressions may indicate less anxiety. The data of psychological tests allowed to define two subgroups in the crew. The first one consisted of the subjects with high group status and lower level of frustration (not anxious), the second one consisted of less popular subjects, having respectively higher anxiety level. The video analysis showed two times more manifestations of facial expressions and interpersonal communications for the first subgroup. We also identified the subgroups on the basis of their verbal expressions in Russian and in English. Video observation of individual and group behavior, combined with other psychological tests gives opportunity to emphasize more objectively the signs
Barash, David P.
A study of human personal space and flight distance in terms of the responses of college students to intrusions upon their presumed personal space. Investigates the elicitation of aggressive or defensive behavior. (LK)
Fisher, Ronald L., Jr.; Novak, John A.
Describes a series of four experiments designed for small group involvement (each requiring 6 days) emphasizing students' scientific methodology. Topics include: feeding behavior; light/temperature effects on reproduction; effect of density on feeding; and altered male/female ratios on male behavior. Each experiment includes introduction, material…
Burghardt, Gordon M.
Charles Darwin made numerous seminal contributions to the study of animal behavior over his long career. This essay places these contributions in the context of Darwin's life, showing his long-standing interest in psychological and behavioral issues encompassing all species, including humans. Ten areas are highlighted: natural history;…
A review of play in nonhuman animals indicates that play increases with phylogenetic status, is important for mature social development in more advanced species, reflects intentional activity, and is essential for the development of tool-using strategies. (Author)
Burghardt, Gordon M
Charles Darwin made numerous seminal contributions to the study of animal behavior over his long career. This essay places these contributions in the context of Darwin's life, showing his long-standing interest in psychological and behavioral issues encompassing all species, including humans. Ten areas are highlighted: natural history; communication; sexual selection and courtship; comparative cognition; emotion; instinct and behavioral development; inheritance of behavior; phylogeny of behavior; sociobiology and behavioral ecology; and applied animal behavior, animal welfare, and conservation. Several newer emphases that Darwin anticipated are briefly discussed. Darwin, while not always correct by current standards, crucially aided the process of firmly embedding psychological phenomena in a naturalistic scientific ethos.
Barash, David P.
A study of the frequency of looking both ways before crossing a street revealed that both males and females tend to look both ways more often when accompanied by juveniles than when alone, and that when males and females are together, males look both ways more often than do females. (Author/MA)
Simultaneous determination of three alkaloids, four ginsenosides and limonin in the plasma of normal and headache rats after oral administration of Wu-Zhu-Yu decoction by a novel ultra fast liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method: application to a comparative pharmacokinetics and ethological study.
Xu, Huarong; Li, Qing; Yin, Yidi; Lv, Chunxiao; Sun, Wanyang; He, Bosai; Liu, Ran; Chen, Xiaohui; Bi, Kaishun
A novel, sensitive and reliable ultra fast liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UFLC-MS/MS) method has been developed and validated for simultaneous quantitation of eight main active ingredients (evodiamine, rutaecarpine, dehydroevodiamine, limonin, ginsenoside Rb1, Rd, Re and Rg1) in rat plasma after oral administration of Wu-Zhu-Yu (WZY) decoction, which is a celebrated and widely used Traditional Chinese Medicine formula for the treatment of headache. The analytes and internal standard (IS) were separated on a SHIM-PACK XR-ODS II column, and the detection was performed on a UFLC-MS/MS system with turbo ion spray source. The lower limits of quantification were 1.5, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, 2.0, 1.0, 0.5 and 0.2 ng ml(-1) for evodiamine, rutaecarpine, dehydroevodiamine, limonin, gensenoside Rb1, Rd, Re and Rg1, respectively. Linearity, accuracy, precision and absolute recoveries of the eight analytes were all within satisfaction. The IS-normalized matrix factor was adopted for assessing the matrix effect and accompanied with a satisfactory result. The validated method has been successfully applied to compare pharmacokinetic profiles of the eight active ingredients in rat plasma between normal and headache rats after administration. Exact pharmaceutical effect of WZY decoction on headache was demonstrated by the ethological response of headache rats induced by nitric oxide donor after administration. The results indicated that the absorption of evodiamine, rutaecarpine, gensenoside Rb1, Re and Rg1 in headache group were significantly higher than those in normal group with similar concentration-time curves while no significant differences existed in limonin and ginsenoside Rd between the two groups.
Thompson, Theresa; Pollak, Edward I.
Lists advantages in the use of the blue gourami in laboratory experiments on reproduction and embryogenesis. Materials and procedures for maintaining and spawning blue gouramis are provided. Also includes details on microscopic examination of developing embryos and histological techniques for microscope slide preparation. (CS)
ex- plosion of semantic complexity occurred during hominid evolu- tion . Semantic complexity means not only a large number of cognitive...precursor - a proto- language - by means of the usual natural selection process. The demands of the social life of early hominids have been pointed...the social life of early hominids . Rather than focusing on the "origin" issue, here we take a more pragmatic view and consider these elementary
Paris, Scott G.; Cairns, Robert B.
The effectiveness of positive and negative evaluative comments for children's learning was assessed in a two-choice discrimination task. Results indicate that negative comments after incorrect responses greatly facilitated learning while positive comments after correct responses had little effect. To explain the findings, a naturalistic analysis…
BIRDS, BEHAVIOR, BRAIN , STIMULATION (PHYSIOLOGY), PHYSIOLOGY, ADAPTATION(PHYSIOLOGY), ECOLOGY, THRESHOLDS(PHYSIOLOGY), REPRODUCTION(PHYSIOLOGY), RELAXATION(PHYSIOLOGY), POSTURE(PHYSIOLOGY), MOTION, FOOD.
Santos, António J; Daniel, João R; Fernandes, Carla; Vaughn, Brian E
Recent studies of school-age children and adolescents have used social network analyses to characterize selection and socialization aspects of peer groups. Fewer network studies have been reported for preschool classrooms and many of those have focused on structural descriptions of peer networks, and/or, on selection processes rather than on social functions of subgroup membership. In this study we started by identifying and describing different types of affiliative subgroups (HMP- high mutual proximity, LMP- low mutual proximity, and ungrouped children) in a sample of 240 Portuguese preschool children using nearest neighbor observations. Next, we used additional behavioral observations and sociometric data to show that HMP and LMP subgroups are functionally distinct: HMP subgroups appear to reflect friendship relations, whereas LMP subgroups appear to reflect common social goals, but without strong, within-subgroup dyadic ties. Finally, we examined the longitudinal implications of subgroup membership and show that children classified as HMP in consecutive years had more reciprocated friendships than did children whose subgroup classification changed from LMP or ungrouped to HMP. These results extend previous findings reported for North American peer groups.
Cunningham, Christopher B.; Badgett, Majors J.; Meagher, Richard B.; Orlando, Ron; Moore, Allen J.
Ethologists predicted that parental care evolves by modifying behavioural precursors in the asocial ancestor. As a corollary, we predict that the evolved mechanistic changes reside in genetic pathways underlying these traits. Here we test our hypothesis in female burying beetles, Nicrophorus vespilloides, an insect where caring adults regurgitate food to begging, dependent offspring. We quantify neuropeptide abundance in brains collected from three behavioural states: solitary virgins, individuals actively parenting or post-parenting solitary adults and quantify 133 peptides belonging to 18 neuropeptides. Eight neuropeptides differ in abundance in one or more states, with increased abundance during parenting in seven. None of these eight neuropeptides have been associated with parental care previously, but all have roles in predicted behavioural precursors for parenting. Our study supports the hypothesis that predictable traits and pathways are targets of selection during the evolution of parenting and suggests additional candidate neuropeptides to study in the context of parenting. PMID:28145404
Over 200 bees of 4 African Xylocopa species were observed for 3 months on the island of Rubondo (L. Victoria, Tanzania). Some 40 burrows were investigated, 100 bees marked. Building techniques are minutely reported; burrow construction simplifies defence and allows re-use by succeeding generations. Food plants, collecting, provisioning and all aspects of ontogenesis are treated, insight given into pupal leg mobility and the much-debated emergence order after eclosion: the first-hatched bee, in the rearmost cell, prepares the way for siblings. Copulation and the copulatory hold are studied using tethered femalefemale, and illustrated. A few colonization experiments are described and s spectrogram of begging sounds given. Meeting of the generations, feeding of the young and nest-defence by young siblings throw light on the evolution of primitively eusocial communities. The known literature is reviewed in each chapter.
Santos, António J.; Daniel, João R.; Fernandes, Carla; Vaughn, Brian E.
Recent studies of school-age children and adolescents have used social network analyses to characterize selection and socialization aspects of peer groups. Fewer network studies have been reported for preschool classrooms and many of those have focused on structural descriptions of peer networks, and/or, on selection processes rather than on social functions of subgroup membership. In this study we started by identifying and describing different types of affiliative subgroups (HMP- high mutual proximity, LMP- low mutual proximity, and ungrouped children) in a sample of 240 Portuguese preschool children using nearest neighbor observations. Next, we used additional behavioral observations and sociometric data to show that HMP and LMP subgroups are functionally distinct: HMP subgroups appear to reflect friendship relations, whereas LMP subgroups appear to reflect common social goals, but without strong, within-subgroup dyadic ties. Finally, we examined the longitudinal implications of subgroup membership and show that children classified as HMP in consecutive years had more reciprocated friendships than did children whose subgroup classification changed from LMP or ungrouped to HMP. These results extend previous findings reported for North American peer groups. PMID:26134139
Williams, Richard C.
A stable, ordered dominance hierarchy was found via observational and sociometric methods for a group of 13-year-old boys during a five-week summer camp. This group structure was formed early in camp and was stable across settings, time, and types of dominance interactions. The hierarchy correlated significantly with the rank-orderings bed…
... . Name of Committee: Brain Disorders and Clinical Neuroscience Integrated Review Group; Neural Basis of... and Behavioral Processes Integrated Review Group; Biobehavioral Regulation, Learning and Ethology... Review Special Emphasis Panel; Biobehavioral Regulation, Learning and Ethology Academic...
Anti-aversive effects of cannabidiol on innate fear-induced behaviors evoked by an ethological model of panic attacks based on a prey vs the wild snake Epicrates cenchria crassus confrontation paradigm.
Uribe-Mariño, Andrés; Francisco, Audrey; Castiblanco-Urbina, Maria Angélica; Twardowschy, André; Salgado-Rohner, Carlos José; Crippa, José Alexandre S; Hallak, Jaime Eduardo Cecílio; Zuardi, Antônio Waldo; Coimbra, Norberto Cysne
Several pharmacological targets have been proposed as modulators of panic-like reactions. However, interest should be given to other potential therapeutic neurochemical agents. Recent attention has been given to the potential anxiolytic properties of cannabidiol, because of its complex actions on the endocannabinoid system together with its effects on other neurotransmitter systems. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of cannabidiol on innate fear-related behaviors evoked by a prey vs predator paradigm. Male Swiss mice were submitted to habituation in an arena containing a burrow and subsequently pre-treated with intraperitoneal administrations of vehicle or cannabidiol. A constrictor snake was placed inside the arena, and defensive and non-defensive behaviors were recorded. Cannabidiol caused a clear anti-aversive effect, decreasing explosive escape and defensive immobility behaviors outside and inside the burrow. These results show that cannabidiol modulates defensive behaviors evoked by the presence of threatening stimuli, even in a potentially safe environment following a fear response, suggesting a panicolytic effect.
Badis laspiophilus, a new miniature addition to the ichthyofauna of West Bengal, north-eastern India, with observations on its ecology and preliminary notes on its ethology (Actinopterygii: Perciformes: Badidae).
Valdesalici, Stefano; Van Der Voort, Stefan
Badis laspiophilus is described from the Torsa River drainage, West Bengal, India. It can be distinguished from congeners by a combination of characters which include a small size (15.7-21.0 mm SL), 14-16 circumpeduncular row scales, interorbital width 6.7-8.9% SL, upper and lower jaws 8.2-9.2 and 10.2-13.4% SL, respectively, presence of two dorsal-fin blotches and a single round blotch on the anal fin, and absence of cleithral, opercle and dorsolateral caudal peduncle blotches. Its benthic ecology is discussed and the Badis singenensis species group is diagnosed, of which B. laspiophilus and B. singenensis are considered members.
Anti-Aversive Effects of Cannabidiol on Innate Fear-Induced Behaviors Evoked by an Ethological Model of Panic Attacks Based on a Prey vs the Wild Snake Epicrates cenchria crassus Confrontation Paradigm
Uribe-Mariño, Andrés; Francisco, Audrey; Castiblanco-Urbina, Maria Angélica; Twardowschy, André; Salgado-Rohner, Carlos José; Crippa, José Alexandre S; Hallak, Jaime Eduardo Cecílio; Zuardi, Antônio Waldo; Coimbra, Norberto Cysne
Several pharmacological targets have been proposed as modulators of panic-like reactions. However, interest should be given to other potential therapeutic neurochemical agents. Recent attention has been given to the potential anxiolytic properties of cannabidiol, because of its complex actions on the endocannabinoid system together with its effects on other neurotransmitter systems. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of cannabidiol on innate fear-related behaviors evoked by a prey vs predator paradigm. Male Swiss mice were submitted to habituation in an arena containing a burrow and subsequently pre-treated with intraperitoneal administrations of vehicle or cannabidiol. A constrictor snake was placed inside the arena, and defensive and non-defensive behaviors were recorded. Cannabidiol caused a clear anti-aversive effect, decreasing explosive escape and defensive immobility behaviors outside and inside the burrow. These results show that cannabidiol modulates defensive behaviors evoked by the presence of threatening stimuli, even in a potentially safe environment following a fear response, suggesting a panicolytic effect. PMID:21918503
... Committee: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Neuroscience Integrated Review Group; Molecular... Integrated Review Group; Biobehavioral Regulation, Learning and Ethology Study Section. Date: February...
... Committee: Emerging Technologies and Training Neurosciences Integrated Review Group; Molecular Neurogenetics... Regulation, Learning and Ethology. Date: June 4, 2010. Time: 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Agenda: To review and evaluate... Panel; ARRA: Biobehavioral Regulation, Learning and Ethology Competitive Revisions. Date: June 4,...
conversational signals," Human Ethology, M. von Cranach, K. Foppa , W. Lepenies and D. Ploog (eds.), (Cambridge, 1979), pp. 169-202. 4 7 Miron Zuckerman...and conversational signals," Human Ethology, von Cranach, M., Foppa , K., Lepenies, W., and Ploog, D., (eds.). : Cambridge Publishers, 1979. Ekman, P
Ethologically based resolution of D2-like dopamine receptor agonist-versus antagonist-induced behavioral topography in dopamine- and adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate-regulated phosphoprotein of 32 kDa "knockout" mutants congenic on the C57BL/6 genetic background.
Nally, Rachel E; Kinsella, Anthony; Tighe, Orna; Croke, David T; Fienberg, Allen A; Greengard, Paul; Waddington, John L
Given the critical role of dopamine- and adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate-regulated phosphoprotein of 32 kDa (DARPP-32) in the regulation of dopaminergic function, DARPP-32-null mutant mice congenic on the inbred C57BL/6 strain for 10 generations were examined phenotypically for their ethogram of responsivity to the selective D2-like receptor agonist RU 24213 (N-n-propyl-N-phenylethyl-p-3-hydroxyphenylethylamine) and the selective D2-like receptor antagonist YM 09151-2 (cis-N-[1-benzyl-2-methyl-pyrrolidin-3-yl]-5-chloro-2-methoxy-4-methylaminobenzamide), using procedures that resolve all topographies of behavior in the natural repertoire. After vehicle challenge, levels of sniffing and rearing seated were reduced in DARPP-32 mutants; the injection procedure seems to constitute a "stressor" that reveals phenotypic effects of DARPP-32 deletion not apparent under natural conditions. Topographical effects of 0.3 to 10.0 mg/kg RU 24213, primarily induction of sniffing and ponderous locomotion with accompanying reductions in rearing, grooming, sifting and chewing, were not altered to any material extent in DARPP-32-null mice. However, topographical effects of 0.005 to 0.625 mg/kg YM 09151-2, namely, reduction in sniffing, locomotion, rearing, grooming, and chewing but not sifting, were essentially absent in DARPP-32 mutants. Thus, the D2-like receptor agonist-mediated ethogram was essentially conserved, whereas major elements of the corresponding D2-like receptor antagonist-mediated ethogram were essentially absent in DARPP-32-null mice. This suggests some relationship between 1) extent of tonic dopaminergic activation of DARPP-32 mechanisms and 2) compensatory mechanisms consequent to the developmental absence of DARPP-32, which may emerge to act differentially on individual elements of the DARPP-32 system. Critically, the present data indicate that phenotypic effects of a given gene deletion using an agonist acting on the system disrupted cannot be generalized to a corresponding antagonist, and vice versa.
... . Name of Committee: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Neuroscience Integrated Review Group; Cellular... Regulation, Learning and Ethology Study Section. Date: October 21-22, 2013. Time: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00...
..., Learning and Ethology. Date: June 8, 2011. Time: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Agenda: To review and evaluate grant....email@example.com . Name of Committee: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Neuroscience...
... . Name of Committee: Emerging Technologies and Training Neurosciences Integrated Review Group. Molecular... Committee: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Neuroscience Integrated Review Group, Neurotransporters... Review Group, Biobehavioral Regulation, Learning and Ethology Study Section. Date: June 9, 2011. Time:...
... Committee: Integrative, Functional and Cognitive Neuroscience Integrated Review Group, Sensorimotor... Special Emphasis Panel, Biobehavioral Regulation, Learning and Ethology. Date: February 4, 2011. Time: 10.... (301) 435- 1171. firstname.lastname@example.org . Name of Committee: Brain Disorders and Clinical...
Terneus, Sandra K.; Malone, Yvonne
Ethological research indicates that during courtship, men and women usually communicate their interests via body language and interpersonal space (kinesics and proxemics). Many studies have validated the usage of kinesics and the ebb and flow of proximity during the process of courtship. Although the majority of studies have focused on young…
"A Human Ethogram: Its Scientific Acceptability and Importance." A Treatise Assessing Modern Theories of Personality Development and Proposing a New Comprehensive Theory of Behavior and Behavioral Development, key chapters and sections.
Written by a methodological behaviorist, this treatise critiques neo-Hullian, Freudian, Eriksonian, and Piagetian theories and presents an ethological perspective on behavior and personality development. The critique is extended to cover social learning, cognitive-developmental, neo-Freudian, and Skinnerian theories, as well as the ideas of…
Parsley, Nancy J.; Rabinowitz, F. Michael
Attempts to integrate the ethological interpretation of the Bell and Ainsworth findings on the promptness of mother reaction to infant crying, with operant laboratory infant research. Suggests an alternative operant interpretation based on the concept of counter conditioning. (Author/ED)
Hughes, Fergus P.
Children, Play, and Development, Fourth Edition, discusses the relationship of play to the physical, social, intellectual, and emotional growth of the child. Author Fergus P. Hughes focuses on the historical, sociocultural, and ethological context of play; the role of development in play; and the wide range of theories that provide a framework for…
Edelman, Murray S.; Omark, Donald R.
This study uses the ethological approach of seeking species characteristics and phylogenetic continuities in an investigation of human behavior. Among primates a striking consistency is the presence of some form of dominance hierarchy in many species. The present study examines peer group dominance hierarchies as they are perceived by children in…
constriction, which can then lead to asphyxiation and death . In addition, symptoms of sleep disturbances, psychomotor retardation, and intellectual...afforded by clonidine , Pharmacol Biochem Behav, 29 (1988) 309-313.  E. Choleris, A.W. Thomas, M. Kavaliers and F.S. Prato, A detailed ethological
This article informs school improvement and educational change from a radically different perspective. Building upon work done recently in neural psychology, primatology and ethology, the article examines four common and general types of organisational form: the cell, the silo, the pyramidal, and the network types of organisational structures.…
Turner, Dennis C
This review article covers research conducted over the last three decades on cat-human and human-cat interactions and relationships, especially from an ethological point of view. It includes findings on cat-cat and cat-human communication, cat personalities and cat-owner personalities, the effects of cats on humans, and problems caused by cats.
Sebeok, Thomas A.
Deals with the relationship existing between the signifier and the signified components of signs, and with problems in the definition of signs. It is also concerned with recognizing the relationship of semiotics to developmental psychology and ethology. (Available from Semiotica, Co-Libri, P.O. Box 482, The Hague 2076, The Netherlands)
Als, Heidelise; Butler, Samantha; Kosta, Sandra; McAnulty, Gloria
The Assessment of Preterm Infants' Behavior (APIB) is a newborn neurobehavioral assessment appropriate for preterm, at risk, and full-term newborns, from birth to 1 month after expected due date. The APIB is based in ethological--evolutionary thought and focuses on the assessment of mutually interacting behavioral subsystems in simultaneous…
von Raffler-Engel, Walburga
The present paper is part of a long range research project in Developmental Kinesics. The gist of the project is empirical: the object is to find out what happens rather than look for anything in particular or test a hypothesis. The methodology for the analysis is ethological in approach. Empirical observations are carefully described.…
Markham, Chris M.; Taylor, Stacie L.; Huhman, Kim L.
We examined the roles of the amygdala and hippocampus in the formation of emotionally relevant memories using an ethological model of conditioned fear termed conditioned defeat (CD). Temporary inactivation of the ventral, but not dorsal hippocampus (VH, DH, respectively) using muscimol disrupted the acquisition of CD, whereas pretraining VH…
Klokocovnik, Vesna; Šorgo, Andrej; Devetak, Dušan
One of the innovations in the Slovenian school system has been the introduction of elective subjects in the curricula of primary and secondary schools, thus there is a lack of teaching manuals for practical exercises and hands-on classroom experience. This situation is reflected in the Ethology classroom and for that purpose we prepared…
Graszer, Christina L.; Gnau, Katie; Melber, Leah M.
This article highlights a core lesson that has been used in a number of Lincoln Park Zoo educational programs. The lesson teaches students to conduct an ethological, or animal behavior, study on a bird. This study can be implemented in a variety of outdoor settings, including a park, schoolyard, or zoo. Using an ethogram, students will practice…
... Conflict: Integrative Neuroscience. Date: March 28, 2012. Time: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Agenda: To review and...: Biobehavioral Regulation, Learning and Ethology. Date: April 4, 2012. Time: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Agenda: To...
... Regulation, Learning and Ethology. Date: October 29, 2012. Time: 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Agenda: To review and... Emphasis Panel; Review of Neuroscience AREA Grant Applications. Date: November 1-2, 2012. Time: 8 a.m. to...
Elcoro, Mirari; da Silva, Stephanie P.; Lattal, Kennon A.
Operant conditioning with "Betta splendens" ("Bettas") has been investigated extensively using males of the species. Ethological studies of female "Bettas" have revealed aggressive interactions that qualitatively parallel those between male "Bettas". Given these similarities, four experiments were conducted with female "Bettas" to examine the…
Getz, Lowell L.
Describes the programs of the Department of Ecology, Ethology, and Evolution at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign). Focuses on the graduate degrees offered in environmental biology. Lists research interests and courses in plant biology, entomology, forestry, civil engineering, and landscape architecture. (TW)
Nagy, Emese; Pilling, Karen; Orvos, Hajnalka; Molnar, Peter
Although a large body of evidence has accumulated on the young human infant's ability to imitate, the phenomenon has failed to gain unanimous acceptance. Imitation of tongue protrusion, the most tested gesture to date, was examined in a sample of 115 newborns in the first 5 days of life in 3 seating positions. An ethologically based…
Zeanah argues that ethological attachment theory, as outlined by John Bowlby, has provided one of the most important frameworks for understanding crucial risk and protective factors in social and emotional development. However, although attachment theory and the notion of attachment disorders have influenced such initiatives, many psychologists,…
In response to a direct request from science teachers, researchers initiated a pilot experience on animal orientation and navigation, which was delivered to 61 13-year-old students in Florence, Italy. The aim was to explain the approach to ethology and to link animal navigation with geography, focusing on species crossing the Italian territory.…
Using an ethological framework, explores the ways in which family pets, in particular dogs and cats, provide certain components of attachment that contribute to emotional and social well-being throughout the life cycle. Implications are identified for social policies that will protect and maintain this bond for particular populations. (RJM)
Masters, Roger D.
A description of the author's personal fascination with and study of Rousseau's life. Discusses Rousseau's many questions that are relevant to evolutionary biology, sociobiology, anthropology, and ethology. Questions concern the nature of human nature, the origin of human society, nurture-nature influences on humans, and the nature of male-female…
Carini, Lindsay M; Murgatroyd, Christopher A; Nephew, Benjamin C
Exposure to chronic stress is a reliable predictor of depressive disorders, and social stress is a common ethologically relevant stressor in both animals and humans. However, many animal models of depression were developed in males and are not applicable or effective in studies of postpartum females. Recent studies have reported significant effects of chronic social stress during lactation, an ethologically relevant and effective stressor, on maternal behavior, growth, and behavioral neuroendocrinology. This manuscript will describe this chronic social stress paradigm using repeated exposure of a lactating dam to a novel male intruder, and the assessment of the behavioral, physiological, and neuroendocrine effects of this model. Chronic social stress (CSS) is a valuable model for studying the effects of stress on the behavior and physiology of the dam as well as her offspring and future generations. The exposure of pups to CSS can also be used as an early life stress that has long term effects on behavior, physiology, and neuroendocrinology.
Alleva, Enrico; Scattoni, Maria Luisa
This issue of Annali dell'Istituto Superiore di Sanità critically evaluates the progression in the ethical relationship between humans and animals (i.e., between biomedical researchers and laboratory animals). The main goal of this publication is in fact to provide a basis for an in-depth discussion of highly debated topics in the contemporary bioethics of animal experimentation, with particular focus on ethological issues and the question of minimal sample size and its contribution to reducing the number of experimental animals. The ethological issues addressed in this publication cover all behavioural patterns specifically moulded by the phylogenetic and ontogenetical history of a given species, a perspective that is often neglected when discussing the promotion of animal welfare.
decades, photoreceptor-sized displacements of a luminous edge have revealed elementary mechanisms of motion vision in insects and vertebrates. By...The ability to use vision to perform a broad set of ethologically important behaviors is critical for flying insects . Importantly, the visual system...visual neurons in the insect visual pathway. This concept shows promise in ongoing simulations. Finally, we are examining the possibility that the
not innate in human existence, but a result of competitive societies.6 Robert Hinde, a Master of St. John’s College in Cambridge focusing on ethology ...Charter of the United Nations http://www.un.org/aboutun/charter/index.html, (accessed 3 January 2008), Articles 24 and 41. 20 Creveld, 134...and size of civil affairs and psychological operations forces as well as those forces associated with information operations and reconstruction reflect
significant blow to the insurgency’s esteem as in the cases of badal (revenge). This can transcend to attempts at infiltration by police or state...other pulls on the individual including sense of self , the nuclear or extended family, or state allegiance. At times they can even contradict...Qasim Mahdi. “Pukhtunwali: Ostracism and Honor among the Pathan Hill Tribes.” Ethology and Sociobiology 7, (1986): 148. 152 Palwasha Kakar. “Tribal Law
Camus, Sandrine M. J.; Blois-Heulin, Catherine; Li, Qin; Hausberger, Martine; Bezard, Erwan
Background To date, experimental and preclinical studies on neuropsychiatric conditions have almost exclusively been performed in experimentally-induced animal models and have only rarely relied upon an ethological approach where animals have been observed in more naturalistic settings. The laboratory species of choice has been the rodent while the potential of more closely-related non-human primates have remained largely underexplored. Methods The present study, therefore, aimed at investigating the possible existence of spontaneous atypical/abnormal behaviours displayed by 40 cynomolgus macaques in captive conditions using an unbiased ethological scan-sampling analysis followed by multifactorial correspondence analysis and a hierarchical clustering. Results The study identified five distinct profiles (groups A to E) that significantly differed on several behaviours, body postures, body orientations, gaze directions and locations in the cage environment. We suggest that animals from the low n groups (D and E) present depressive-like and anxious-like symptoms, reminiscent of depressive and generalized anxiety disorders. Inter-individual differences were highlighted through unbiased ethological observations of spontaneous behaviours and associated parameters, although these were not associated with differences in plasma or cerebrospinal fluid levels of either stress-related hormones or monoamines, i.e. in accordance with the human situation. Conclusions No interventional behavioural testing was required to discriminate between 3 typical and 2 atypical ethologically-defined behavioural profiles, reminiscent of certain depressive-like and anxiety-like symptoms. The use of unbiased behavioural observations might, thus, allow the identification of animal models of human mental/behavioural disorders and their most appropriate control groups. PMID:23658620
Studies of interactions between the nervous and immune systems that effect immunological and behavioral changes are relevant to our understanding biological issues pertinent to evolution, ethology, ecology, and aging, in addition to our understanding the immune and nervous systems per se. Psychoneuroimmunology also relates to homeland security, science education, and the practice of conventional as well as complementary and alternative medicine. This paper will highlight just some of these global implications of psychoneuroimmunology.
The 50th anniversary of the International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE) was celebrated in July, with the return of its annual international congress to Edinburgh, the city where the society was founded in 1966. Scientific legacy was a prevalent topic at the meeting, in line with the congress theme: standing on the shoulders of giants. The event was the biggest in the ISAE's history, spanning five days, from July 12 to 16, and comprising almost 200 talks. Rachel Orritt reflects on proceedings.
Delellis, Pietro; Polverino, Giovanni; Ustuner, Gozde; Abaid, Nicole; Macrì, Simone; Bollt, Erik M.; Porfiri, Maurizio
We posit a new geometric perspective to define, detect, and classify inherent patterns of collective behaviour across a variety of animal species. We show that machine learning techniques, and specifically the isometric mapping algorithm, allow the identification and interpretation of different types of collective behaviour in five social animal species. These results offer a first glimpse at the transformative potential of machine learning for ethology, similar to its impact on robotics, where it enabled robots to recognize objects and navigate the environment.
DeLellis, Pietro; Polverino, Giovanni; Ustuner, Gozde; Abaid, Nicole; Macrì, Simone; Bollt, Erik M; Porfiri, Maurizio
We posit a new geometric perspective to define, detect, and classify inherent patterns of collective behaviour across a variety of animal species. We show that machine learning techniques, and specifically the isometric mapping algorithm, allow the identification and interpretation of different types of collective behaviour in five social animal species. These results offer a first glimpse at the transformative potential of machine learning for ethology, similar to its impact on robotics, where it enabled robots to recognize objects and navigate the environment.
Ellis, D.H.; Archibald, G.W.; Swengel, S.R.; Kepler, C.B.; Harris, James
This paper provides the organizational framework, nomenclature, and abbreviated descriptions for all conspicuous nonsocial behavioral units for all 15 species of crane. We present eight generalized functional classes of behavior. These classes include about 90 discrete motor patterns that constitute the nonsocial repertoire of all cranes. We present this compendium to facilitate information exchanges among students of crane behavior and to encourage interest in future detailed studies of the descriptive ethology of each species.
Carlino, Paolo; Pettini, Francesco; Cantore, Stefania; Grassi, Felice Roberto; Pepe, Valentina
The aim of this report is to analyze the clinical symptoms, ethologic factors, and prosthetic rehabilitation in a case of Combination Syndrome (CS). The treatment of CS can be conventional or surgical, with or without the bone reconstruction of maxilla. The correct prosthetic treatment helps this kind of patients to restore the physiologic occlusion plane to allow a correct masticatory and aesthetic function. Management of this kind of patients can be a challenge for a dental practitioner. PMID:24511397
The extermination of 100,000 inpatients of mental hospitals and 5,000 mentally retarded children in NAZI-Germany under the Hitler régime between 1939 and 1941 is reported. The ideological precursors of these actions are traced. The ethological and anthropological aspects of inner-species destruction in the phylogenesis of mankind are traced. Psychological and social conditions of social destructiveness under "normal" and exceptional conditions are discussed and the consequences for education drawn.
Xu, Fan; Wu, Qingyuan; Xie, Liang; Gong, Wei; Zhang, Jianguo; Zheng, Peng; Zhou, Qinmin; Ji, Yongjia; Wang, Tao; Li, Xin; Fang, Liang; Li, Qi; Yang, Deyu; Li, Juan; Melgiri, Narayan D.; Shively, Carol; Xie, Peng
Rodent models have dominated preclinical investigations into the mechanisms of depression. However, these models-which rely on subjecting individual rodents to physical stressors - do not realistically resemble the etiopathological development of depression, which occurs naturally in a social context. A non-human primate model that better reflects the social ethological aspects of depression would be more advantageous to investigating pathophysiological mechanisms and developing antidepressant therapeutics. Here, we describe and model a naturally-occurring depressive state in a non-human primate species, the cynomolgus monkey (Macaca fascicularis), in a realistic social ethological context and associate the depressed behavioral phenotype with significant serum metabolic perturbations. One to two subjects per stable social colony (17–22 subjects) manifested a depressive phenotype that may be attributed to psychosocial stress. In accordance with rodent and human studies, the serum metabolic phenotype of depressed and healthy subjects significantly differed, supporting the model's face validity. However, application of the fast-acting antidepressant ketamine failed to demonstrate predictive validity. This study proposes a non-human primate depression model in a realistic social ethological context that can better approximate the psychosocial stressors underlying depression. PMID:25783476
Webster, A. J. F.
My concern is to question the quality and utility of science in general and ethology in particular as applied to animal welfare. This topic has in the past provoked me to some severe criticism, for example, 'A lot of well-intended welfare research is neither very good science nor very helpful to the animals.... Too much welfare research is (in my opinion) flawed either because it is oversimplistic, or because it is not so much designed to test preconceptions but to reinforce prejudice' (Webster 1994). Dawkins (1997) has recently responded to this challenge, addressing the question 'Why has there not been more progress in welfare research?' Her response is concerned largely with applied ethology. My own criticism was not directed at ethologists in particular. I was more concerned by the misuse of scientific method by those who seek to obtain a so-called 'objective' measurement of something which they preconceive to be a stress (e.g. measurement of plasma concentrations of cortisol or endorphins in animals following transportation). Here the 'objective' measure frequently becomes the test that gives the answer that they want, and if it fails, then they seek other 'objective' markers until they achieve a set of measurements that supports the subjective impression which they had at the outset. My second main concern is that the welfare state of a sentient animal is a very complex affair and cannot be embraced by any single scientific discipline, be it ethology, physiology, molecular or neurobiology. Unfortunately it is also too complex to be embraced by a single-sentence definition. The best I can do is to suggest that it is determined by the capacity of an animal to sustain physical fitness and avoid mental suffering. The assessment of this is necessarily multidisciplinary.
Rinberg, D; Davidowitz, H
Experiments on the cercal wind-sensing system of the American cockroach, Periplaneta americana, showed that the firing rate of the interneurons coding wind information depends on the bandwidth of random noise wind stimuli. The firing rate was shown to increase with decreases in the stimulus bandwidth, and be independent of changes in the total power of the stimulus with constant spectral composition. A detailed analysis of ethologically relevant stimulus parameters is presented. A phenomenological model of these relationships and their relevance to wind-mediated cockroach behavior is proposed.
Hernandez, Giovanni; Cheer, Joseph F.
Decision-making is an ethologically adaptive construct that is impaired in multiple psychiatric disorders. Activity within the mesocorticolimbic dopamine system has been traditionally associated with decision-making. The endocannabinoid system through its actions on inhibitory and excitatory synapses modulates dopamine activity and decision-making. The aim of this brief review is to present a synopsis of available data obtained when the endocannabinoid system is manipulated and dopamine activity recorded. To this end, we review research using different behavioral paradigms to provide further insight into how this ubiquitous signaling system biases dopamine-related behaviors to regulate decision-making. PMID:26733830
Vonk, Jennifer; Shackelford, Todd K
Previously we (Vonk and Shackelford, 2012, in press) proposed an integration of comparative psychology and evolutionary psychology into a new field of "comparative evolutionary psychology." This integrative discipline incorporates principles from ethology, ecology, biology, anthropology, and psychology, broadly defined. We present in this special issue a collection of original empirical and theoretical review articles in which leading researchers propose ways to successfully integrate comparative and evolutionary approaches within their particular areas of study. We showcase the key contributions of these articles and highlight several empirical and theoretical challenges, as well as key future directions, for comparative evolutionary psychology.
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Pilaar Birch, Suzanne E; Miracle, Preston T; Stevens, Rhiannon E; O'Connell, Tamsin C
Zooarchaeological and paleoecological investigations have traditionally been unable to reconstruct the ethology of herd animals, which likely had a significant influence on the mobility and subsistence strategies of prehistoric humans. In this paper, we reconstruct the migratory behavior of red deer (Cervus elaphus) and caprids at the Pleistocene-Holocene transition in the northeastern Adriatic region using stable oxygen isotope analysis of tooth enamel. The data show a significant change in δ18O values from the Pleistocene into the Holocene, as well as isotopic variation between taxa, the case study sites, and through time. We then discuss the implications of seasonal faunal availability as determining factors in human mobility patterns.
Shamsie, S J
Violence is looked at from ethological, biological and anthropological points of view. The family is examined to determine the roots of violence. Various prospective studies are reviewed to assess the role of temperament, social, familial and economic factors facilitating the development of antisocial and violent behaviour in the youth. There is also a look at the violence committed by groups, nations or governments in the name of God, flag or a just cause. The role that mental health professionals could play in preventing the development of violent behaviour is discussed.
Working on three ant species of the genus Myrmica, M. ruginodis, M. rubra, and M. sabuleti, we showed that foragers can expect the subsequent time at which food will be available on the basis of the previous times at which food was present. The ants acquired this expectative ability right after having experienced two time shifts of food delivery. Moreover, the ants' learning score appeared to be a logarithmic function of time (i.e., of the number of training days). This ability to expect subsequent times at which an event will occur may be an advantageous ethological trait. PMID:27403457
Hutch, R A
Engendering family life is a spiritual process (theosis) based on human ethological constants of gender difference and generational turnover. Recent studies on ethnicity suggest that such a process retrieves a primordial sense of the human species as a whole, "humankind." Families, especially in this broad sense, link together the living and the dead and, at their best, morally empower individuals who link their destinies to such a vision of creation and human health. Reference is made to work on human strengths and speciation by Erik Erikson and to that on maternal thinking by Sara Ruddick. A political program by which an ideology of "familism" can be made is offered.
Silva, S M; Clozato, C L; Moraes-Barros, N; Morgante, J S
The common three-toed sloth is a widespread species, but the location and the observation of its individuals are greatly hindered by its biological features. Their camouflaged pelage, its slow and quiet movements, and the strictly arboreal habits resulted in the publication of sparse, fragmented and not patterned information on the common sloth behaviour. Thus, herein we propose an updated standardized behavioural categories' framework to the study of the species. Furthermore we describe two never reported interaction behaviours: a probable mating / courtship ritual between male and female; and apparent recognition behaviour between two males. Finally we highlight the contribution of small-duration field works in this elusive species ethological study.
Curcio Ruigómez, A; Martín Jiménez, J; Wilhelmi Ayza, M; Soria Delgado, J L
We present a case of double post acute myocardial infarction complication: ventricular septal defect and acute and severe mitral insufficiency. As a consequence of the delay in the diagnosis, the patient developed pulmonary hypertension with values at the systemic level. The patient underwent surgery in order to close the ventricular septal defect and aneurysmectomy, resulting in posterior regression of mitral insufficiency and pulmonary circuit values became normal. The ethology, diagnosis, evolution and treatment of this exceptional association of acute post myocardial infarction complications are discussed.
Kowalski, Jerzy Adam
The attempt is made to initially arrange in the terms of methodology the area of the research on partner roles in homoerotic relations. These issues have been noticed very early in human history (e.g., different roles performed or bimodal polarization), but only recently has science become interested in this subject. It is suggested to cover all such roles by the term sex-partner roles (SPR) instead of various other terms used and to classify them according to the ethological evolutionary approach into the appetitive and consummatory SPR. Further details of the division are discussed, and the utility of such classification is marked.
DeLellis, Pietro; Polverino, Giovanni; Ustuner, Gozde; Abaid, Nicole; Macrì, Simone; Bollt, Erik M.; Porfiri, Maurizio
We posit a new geometric perspective to define, detect, and classify inherent patterns of collective behaviour across a variety of animal species. We show that machine learning techniques, and specifically the isometric mapping algorithm, allow the identification and interpretation of different types of collective behaviour in five social animal species. These results offer a first glimpse at the transformative potential of machine learning for ethology, similar to its impact on robotics, where it enabled robots to recognize objects and navigate the environment. PMID:24430561
Gadbois, Simon; Sievert, Olivia; Reeve, Catherine; Harrington, F H; Fentress, J C
We discuss the history, conceptualization, and relevance of behavior patterns in modern ethology by explaining the evolution of the concepts of fixed action patterns and modal action patterns. We present the movement toward a more flexible concept of natural action sequences with significant degrees of (production and expressive) freedom. An example is presented with the food caching behavior of three Canidae species: red fox (Vulpes vulpes), coyote (Canis latrans) and gray wolf (Canis lupus). Evolutionary, ecological, and neuroecological/neuroethological arguments are presented to explain the difference in levels of complexity and stereotypy between Canis and Vulpes. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Canine Behavior.
Dodge, Kenneth A.
A model of the development of hostile attributional style and its role in children's aggressive behavior is proposed, based on the translation of basic science in ethology, neuroscience, social psychology, personality psychology, and developmental psychology. Theory and findings from these domains are reviewed and synthesized in the proposed model, which posits that (a) aggressive behavior and hostile attributions are universal human characteristics, (b) socialization leads to the development of benign attributions, (c) individual differences in attributional style account for differences in aggressive behavior, and (d) interventions to change attributions have the potential to alter antisocial development. Challenges for future research are described. PMID:17152401
Are (or were) there any other symbolic species? This question has been addressed by researchers from many different fields and is responsible for a historical controversy on the existence of a threshold between "symbolic creatures" vs "simple forms of language creatures". According to the mainstream ethology and comparative psychology only the Homo sapiens is cognitively equiped to produce and interpret symbols. Here, I introduce an empirically testable model of symbolic semiosis ("symbolic action of sign") supported by C.S.Peirce logical-phenomenological theory of categories. I suggest that a specific sign-user pattern of behavior, observed in non-human primate communication, indicate a transition from indexical to symbolic semiosis.
Pilaar Birch, Suzanne E.; Miracle, Preston T.; Stevens, Rhiannon E.; O’Connell, Tamsin C.
Zooarchaeological and paleoecological investigations have traditionally been unable to reconstruct the ethology of herd animals, which likely had a significant influence on the mobility and subsistence strategies of prehistoric humans. In this paper, we reconstruct the migratory behavior of red deer (Cervus elaphus) and caprids at the Pleistocene-Holocene transition in the northeastern Adriatic region using stable oxygen isotope analysis of tooth enamel. The data show a significant change in δ18O values from the Pleistocene into the Holocene, as well as isotopic variation between taxa, the case study sites, and through time. We then discuss the implications of seasonal faunal availability as determining factors in human mobility patterns. PMID:27275784
Brizzee, K. R.; Ordy, J. M.; Kaack, B.
Because of its size and other unique diurnal-primate characteristics, the squirrel monkey is used in: (1) actual bioflight missions, (2) in laboratory tests designed to clarify the risks to man during launch and recovery as well as in hazardous spaceflight environments; and (3) in the acquisition of data on unknown risks encountered in long duration space exploration. Pertinent data concerning samiri sciureus as described in published and unpublished reports are summarized. Topics include: taxonomy, ethology, life history, sensory-learning-motor capabilities in primate perspective, anatomy and physiology (including homeostatic adaptation to stress), susceptibility to environmental hazards, reproduction, care and clinical management, and previous use in aerospace biomedical research.
Manson, Joseph H.; Gervais, Matthew M.; Kline, Michelle A.
To account for the widespread human tendency to cooperate in one-shot social dilemmas, some theorists have proposed that cooperators can be reliably detected based on ethological displays that are difficult to fake. Experimental findings have supported the view that cooperators can be distinguished from defectors based on “thin slices” of behavior, but the relevant cues have remained elusive, and the role of the judge's perspective remains unclear. In this study, we followed triadic conversations among unacquainted same-sex college students with unannounced dyadic one-shot prisoner's dilemmas, and asked participants to guess the PD decisions made toward them and among the other two participants. Two other sets of participants guessed the PD decisions after viewing videotape of the conversations, either with foreknowledge (informed), or without foreknowledge (naïve), of the post-conversation PD. Only naïve video viewers approached better-than-chance prediction accuracy, and they were significantly accurate at predicting the PD decisions of only opposite-sexed conversation participants. Four ethological displays recently proposed to cue defection in one-shot social dilemmas (arms crossed, lean back, hand touch, and face touch) failed to predict either actual defection or guesses of defection by any category of observer. Our results cast doubt on the role of “greenbeard” signals in the evolution of human prosociality, although they suggest that eavesdropping may be more informative about others' cooperative propensities than direct interaction. PMID:24358201
Puścian, Alicja; Łęski, Szymon; Kasprowicz, Grzegorz; Winiarski, Maciej; Borowska, Joanna; Nikolaev, Tomasz; Boguszewski, Paweł M; Lipp, Hans-Peter; Knapska, Ewelina
Eco-HAB is an open source, RFID-based system for automated measurement and analysis of social preference and in-cohort sociability in mice. The system closely follows murine ethology. It requires no contact between a human experimenter and tested animals, overcoming the confounding factors that lead to irreproducible assessment of murine social behavior between laboratories. In Eco-HAB, group-housed animals live in a spacious, four-compartment apparatus with shadowed areas and narrow tunnels, resembling natural burrows. Eco-HAB allows for assessment of the tendency of mice to voluntarily spend time together in ethologically relevant mouse group sizes. Custom-made software for automated tracking, data extraction, and analysis enables quick evaluation of social impairments. The developed protocols and standardized behavioral measures demonstrate high replicability. Unlike classic three-chambered sociability tests, Eco-HAB provides measurements of spontaneous, ecologically relevant social behaviors in group-housed animals. Results are obtained faster, with less manpower, and without confounding factors. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.19532.001 PMID:27731798
Sampedro-Piquero, P; Castilla-Ortega, E; Zancada-Menendez, C; Santín, L J; Begega, A
The use of more ethological animal models to study the neurobiology of anxiety has increased in recent years. We assessed the effect of an environmental enrichment (EE) protocol (24h/day over a period of two months) on anxiety-related behaviors when aged Wistar rats (21months old) were confronted with cat odor stimuli. Owing to the relationship between GABAergic interneurons and the anxiety-related neuronal network, we examined changes in the expression of Parvalbumin (PV) and 67kDa form of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD-67) immunoreactive cells in different brain regions involved in stress response. Behavioral results revealed that enriched rats traveled further and made more grooming behaviors during the habituation session. In the cat odor session, they traveled longer distances and they showed more active interaction with the odor stimuli and less time in freezing behavior. Zone analysis revealed that the enriched group spent more time in the intermediate zone according to the proximity of the predator odor. Regarding the neurobiological data, the EE increased the expression of PV-positive cells in some medial prefrontal regions (cingulate (Cg) and prelimbic (PL) cortices), whereas the GAD-67 expression in the basolateral amygdala was reduced in the enriched group. Our results suggest that EE is able to reduce anxiety-like behaviors in aged animals even when ethologically relevant stimuli are used. Moreover, GABAergic interneurons could be involved in mediating this resilient behavior.
Leo Pardi (1915-1990) was the initiator of ethological research in Italy. During more than 50 years of active scientific career, he gave groundbreaking contributions to the understanding of social life in insects, especially in Polistes wasps, an important model organism in sociobiology. In the 1940s, Pardi showed that Polistes societies are organized in a linear social hierarchy that relies on reproductive dominance and on the physiological and developmental mechanisms that regulate it, i.e. on the status of ovarian development of single wasps. Pardi's work set the stage for further research on the regulatory mechanisms governing social life in primitively eusocial organisms both in wasps and in other insect species. This article reconstructs Pardi's investigative pathway between 1937 and 1952 in the context of European ethology and American animal sociology. This reconstruction focuses on the development of Pardi's physiological approach and presents a new perspective on the interacting development of these two fields at the origins of our current understanding of animal social behavior.
Feddersen-Petersen, D U
The science of ethology is concerned with the way external stimuli and internal events cause animals to fight in a particular way. The classification of dog breeds with respect to their relative danger to humans makes no sense, as both, the complex antecedent conditions in which aggressive behaviour occurs, and its ramifying consequences in the individual dog's ecological and social environment, are not considered. From a biological point of view, environmental and learning effects are always superimposed upon genetic influences. Based on the recent developments in the study of ethology, aggression of wolves (Canis lupus L.) and domesticated dogs (Canis lupus f. familiaris) was put into context with respect to other aspects of the lifestyle of wild and domestic canids. Aggressive behaviour does not occur in a biological vacuum. This is also true for domestic dogs and their relationship to human partners. Individual dogs can become highly aggressive and dangerous. Their development and social situation will be presented and discussed in case studies. Finally, there is the question about defining "normal aggression" versus symptoms for maladaptive aggression resp. danger to humans as conspecifics. It is possible to protect the safety of the public and at the the same time practise animal care. Effective animal control legislation must focus on responsible ownership and socialisation of pups f.e. Problems are not unique to some breeds.
Camus, Sandrine MJ.; Rochais, Céline; Blois-Heulin, Catherine; Li, Qin; Hausberger, Martine; Bezard, Erwan
Background Adverse early-life experience might lead to the expression of abnormal behaviours in animals and the predisposition to psychiatric disorder (e.g. major depressive disorder) in Humans. Common breeding processes employ weaning and housing conditions different from what happens in the wild. Methods The present study, therefore, investigated whether birth origin impacts the possible existence of spontaneous atypical/abnormal behaviours displayed by 40 captive-born and 40 wild-born socially-housed cynomolgus macaques in farming conditions using an unbiased ethological scan-sampling analysis followed by multifactorial correspondence and hierarchical clustering analyses. Results We identified 10 distinct profiles (groups A to J) that significantly differed on several behaviours, body postures, body orientations, distances between individuals and locations in the cage. Data suggest that 4 captive-born and 1 wild-born animals (groups G and J) present depressive-like symptoms, unnatural early life events thereby increasing the risk of developing pathological symptoms. General differences were also highlighted between the captive- and wild-born populations, implying the expression of differential coping mechanisms in response to the same captive environment. Conclusions Birth origin thus impacts the development of atypical ethologically-defined behavioural profiles, reminiscent of certain depressive-like symptoms. The use of unbiased behavioural observations might allow the identification of animal models of human mental/behavioural disorders and their most appropriate control groups. PMID:23861787
Anufriieva, Elena V; Shadrin, Nickolai V
Artemia (Anostraca) is among the most primitive and ancient groups of crustaceans. Artemia spp. play a dominant role in the ecosystems of hypersaline waters, and often they are the only animals in these extreme biotopes. Most ethological studies on Artemia have been conducted on nauplii and metanauplii. We made ethological observations on Artemia under laboratory conditions and in the natural waters of Crimea, where we studied growth and ontogenetic changes of swimming behavior. Growth occurred during the first 50 days up to a size of 9.5-10.5mm, after which time the size did not increase (some females lived up to 6.5 months). A strong positive relation was found between maximal speed and individual length, which varied between 0.4 and 10.5mm; it may be approximated by the power equation: Vmax=1.205·K(0.820), where Vmax is the maximal speed of Artemia (in mms(-1)) of the length K (in mm). There is no similar relation between average speed and length of Artemia. The average speed of adults was 40-60% lower in environments with microalgae compared to media without food. The duration of the "riding position" for mating pairs of Artemia urmiana in our experiments varied from 10 to 27 days. In lakes we observed different Artemia aggregations varying in size and form. We conclude that the swimming behavior of Artemia is quite complex and diverse, and develops during ontogeny.
Koenderink, Jan J.
The world is all physical reality (Higgs bosons, and so forth), the "environment" is a geographical locality (your city, …), the "Umwelt" is the totality of possible actions of the environment on the sensitive body surface of an agent (you, your dog, …) and the possible actions of the agent on the environment (mechanical, chemical, …), whereas the "innerworld" is what it is for the agent to be, that is awareness. Awareness is pre-personal, proto-conscious, and (perhaps) proto-rational. The various "worlds" described above are on distinct ontological levels. The world, and the environment are studied in the exact sciences, the Umwelt is studied by physiology and ethology. Ethology is like behavioristic psychology, with the difference that it applies to all animals. It skips the innerworld, e.g., it considers speech to be a movement of air molecules.The innerworld can only be known through first person reports, thus is intrinsically subjective. It can only be approached through "experimental phenomenology", which is based on intersubjectivity among humans. In this setting speech may mean something in addition to the movements of molecules. These views lead to a model of vision as an "optical user interface". It has consequences for many applications.
Thaxter, K A; Young, L E; Young, R E; Parshad, O; Addae, J
Anxiety modulation often requires pharmaceutical intervention, and though effective in the short-term, benzodiazepines may cause impaired motor function. As a potential alternative, anxiety-modulating effects of a neem leaf (Azadirachta indica, A Juss) extract were investigated using ethological analysis of rat behaviour on an elevated X maze and compared with diazepam treatment. Sexually immature female Sprague-Dawley rats received 0.07 or 7 mg/kg neem leaf steroidal extract, a sham injection, a 1% DMSO/saline vehicle, 2 mg/kg diazepam or no treatment one hour prior to a recorded five-minute exploration of the elevated X maze. Neem matched diazepam in anxiety reduction as both treatments caused a decrease in per cent protected stretched-attend postures (PPSAP). Neem treatment had no effect on closed arm entries or total rears, distinguishing it pharmacologically from diazepam which resulted in a predictable decrease in those locomotor measures. Whereas both neem and diazepam reduced anxiety in complex ethological behavioural indices, only neem produced anxiolysis without motor deficiency.
Bradley, B F; Starkey, N J; Brown, S L; Lea, R W
Lavender is a popular treatment for stress and mild anxiety in Europe and the USA. The present study investigated the effects of (Lavandula angustifolia Mill. (Lamiaceae)) lavender odour inhalation over 2 weeks or 24 h periods, on gerbil behaviour in the elevated plus maze in mature male and female gerbils, and compared results with the effects of diazepam (1 mg/kg) i.p. after 30 min and 2-week administration. Traditional measures of open entries showed an increasing trend over the 2 weeks exposure, whereas ethological measures indicative of anxiety; stretch-attend frequency and percentage protected head-dips, were significantly lower. Exploratory behaviour, total head-dip frequency, increased after 24 h lavender and 2 weeks exposure. These results are comparable with diazepam administration. There were sex differences in protected head-dip an ethological indicator of anxiety: females showed a significant decrease in protected head-dips compared to both males and to female controls. In conclusion exposure to lavender odour may have an anxiolytic profile in gerbils similar to that of the anxiolytic diazepam. In addition, prolonged, 2-week lavender odour exposure increased exploratory behaviour in females indicating a further decrease in anxiety in this sex.
Puścian, Alicja; Łęski, Szymon; Kasprowicz, Grzegorz; Winiarski, Maciej; Borowska, Joanna; Nikolaev, Tomasz; Boguszewski, Paweł M; Lipp, Hans-Peter; Knapska, Ewelina
Eco-HAB is an open source, RFID-based system for automated measurement and analysis of social preference and in-cohort sociability in mice. The system closely follows murine ethology. It requires no contact between a human experimenter and tested animals, overcoming the confounding factors that lead to irreproducible assessment of murine social behavior between laboratories. In Eco-HAB, group-housed animals live in a spacious, four-compartment apparatus with shadowed areas and narrow tunnels, resembling natural burrows. Eco-HAB allows for assessment of the tendency of mice to voluntarily spend time together in ethologically relevant mouse group sizes. Custom-made software for automated tracking, data extraction, and analysis enables quick evaluation of social impairments. The developed protocols and standardized behavioral measures demonstrate high replicability. Unlike classic three-chambered sociability tests, Eco-HAB provides measurements of spontaneous, ecologically relevant social behaviors in group-housed animals. Results are obtained faster, with less manpower, and without confounding factors.
Isogai, Yoh; Si, Sheng; Pont-Lezica, Lorena; Tan, Taralyn; Kapoor, Vikrant; Murthy, Venkatesh N.; Dulac, Catherine
The vomeronasal organ (VNO) plays a key role in mediating the social and defensive responses of many terrestrial vertebrates to species- and sex-specific chemosignals1. Over 250 putative pheromone receptors have been identified in the mouse VNO2,3, but the nature of the signals detected by individual VNO receptors has not yet been elucidated. In order to gain insight into the molecular logic of VNO detection leading to mating, aggression, or defensive responses, we sought to uncover the response profiles of individual vomeronasal receptors to a wide range of animal cues. We describe here the repertoire of ethological and physiological stimuli detected by a large number of individual vomeronasal receptors, and define a global map of vomeronasal signal detection. We demonstrate that the two classes of vomeronasal receptors V1Rs and V2Rs use fundamentally different strategies to encode chemosensory information, and that distinct receptor subfamilies have evolved towards the specific recognition of certain animal groups or chemical structures. The association of large subsets of vomeronasal receptors with cognate, ethologically and physiologically relevant stimuli establishes the molecular foundation of vomeronasal information coding, and opens new avenues for further investigating the neural mechanisms underlying behavior specificity. PMID:21937988
Clayton, N S; Russell, J; Dickinson, A
Although psychologists study both the objective (behavior) and the subjective (phenomenology) components of cognition, we argue that an overemphasis on the subjective drives a wedge between psychology and other closely related scientific disciplines, such as comparative studies of cognition and artificial intelligence. This wedge is particularly apparent in contemporary studies of episodic recollection and future planning, two related abilities that many have assumed to be unique to humans. We shall challenge this doctrine. To do so, we shall adopt an ethological approach to comparative cognition and this necessitates two requirements. The first is that memory and planning need to be characterized in terms of objectively defined properties as opposed to purely phenomenological ones; the ability to remember what happened, where, and how long ago is a critical behavioral criterion for episodic memory. The second requirement is the identification of an ethological context in which these memories would confer a selective advantage. As a consequence, we turn this debate into an empirical evaluation in nonlinguistic animals and one embodied in synthetic creatures. Indeed, our behavioral conception of flexibly deployable information about "what, where, and when" has so far supported a comparative cognition in animals as diverse as corvids and primates. We argue that this approach may clarify and challenge ideas that have been based solely on research with human subjects, without the need to be constrained by phenomenological assumptions based on human-centric ways of thinking.
Grammer, Karl; Fink, Bernhard; Renninger, LeeAnn
Research in human communication on an ethological basis is almost obsolete. The reasons for this are manifold and lie partially in methodological problems connected to the observation and description of behavior, as well as the nature of human behavior itself. In this chapter, we present a new, non-intrusive, technical approach to the analysis of human non-verbal behavior, which could help to solve the problem of categorization that plagues the traditional approaches. We utilize evolutionary theory to propose a new theory-driven methodological approach to the 'multi-unit multi-channel modulation' problem of human nonverbal communication. Within this concept, communication is seen as context-dependent (the meaning of a signal is adapted to the situation), as a multi-channel and a multi-unit process (a string of many events interrelated in 'communicative' space and time), and as related to the function it serves. Such an approach can be utilized to successfully bridge the gap between evolutionary psychological research, which focuses on social cognition adaptations, and human ethology, which describes every day behavior in an objective, systematic way.
Cantor, C H; Mullen, P E; Alpers, P A
Seven cases of mass homicide in Australia, New Zealand, and Britain between 1987 and 1996 are presented. These cases add to the world literature on these rare crimes and balance previous, mostly North American reports. These acts were committed by socially unsuccessful, self-absorbed, and resentful individuals. Lengthy fantasy comprising identification, modeling, and rehearsal preceded the incidents, even where the final acts had impulsive elements. Most had a long-standing fascination with firearms fueling their fantasies and providing the means for mass killing. Their targets were mostly unprotected strangers. Overt suicidal intent or a preparedness to die while committing the homicides was invariable. Ethological theories of status acquisition may provide a useful understanding of mass homicide.
Jones, Laura K.; Jennings, Bonnie Mowinski; Goelz, Ryan M.; Haythorn, Kent W.; Zivot, Joel B.; de Waal, Frans B. M.
Background The operating room (OR) is a highly social and hierarchical setting where interprofessional team members must work interdependently under pressure. Due primarily to methodological challenges, the social and behavioral sciences have had trouble offering insight into OR dynamics. Purpose We adopted a method from the field of ethology for observing and quantifying the interpersonal interactions of OR team members. Methods We created and refined an ethogram, a catalog of all our subjects’ observable social behaviors. The ethogram was then assessed for its feasibility and interobserver reliability. Results It was feasible to use an ethogram to gather data in the OR. The high interobserver reliability (Cohen’s Kappa coefficients of 81 % and higher) indicates its utility for yielding largely objective, descriptive, quantitative data on OR behavior. Conclusions The method we propose has potential for social research conducted in healthcare settings as complex as the OR. PMID:26813263
Modell, A H
In a 1933 paper Ferenczi implied that conflict between the adult's and the child's construction of reality is traumatic for the child. As all individuals construct their own view of reality, it is inevitable that there will be conflicting constructions between child and adult--and between analyst and analysand. This may be biologically rooted; recent ethological studies suggest that parent-child conflict is ubiquitous because of a divergence of needs. When a child perceives a marked divergence between his or her construction of reality and that of the caretaker, the child may tend to reject the information proffered by the caretaker. This may appear later as a resistance to learning from the analyst. The divergence of needs between child and caretaker may have a profound influence on the child's cognitive development. The capacity to share other constructions of reality is a developmental achievement which may be facilitated by the psychoanalytic process.
Human aggression is viewed from four explanatory perspectives, derived from the ethological tradition. The first consists of its adaptive value, which can be seen throughout the animal kingdom, involving resource competition and protection of the self and offspring, which has been viewed from a cost-benefit perspective. The second concerns the phylogenetic origin of aggression, which in humans involves brain mechanisms that are associated with anger and inhibition, the emotional expression of anger, and how aggressive actions are manifest. The third concerns the origin of aggression in development and its subsequent modification through experience. An evolutionary approach to development yields conclusions that are contrary to the influential social learning perspective, notably that physical aggression occurs early in life, and its subsequent development is characterized by learned inhibition. The fourth explanation concerns the motivational mechanisms controlling aggression: approached from an evolutionary background, these mechanisms range from the inflexible reflex-like responses to those incorporating rational decision-making.
This essay examines Robert Ardrey (1908-1980)-American playwright, screenwriter, and prolific author-as a case study in the popularization of science. Bringing together evidence from both paleoanthropology and ethology, Ardrey became in the 1960s a vocal proponent of the theory that human beings are innately violent. The essay shows that Ardrey used his popular scientific books not only to consolidate a new science of human nature but also to question the popularizer's standard role, to reverse conventional hierarchies of scientific expertise, and to test the boundaries of professional scientific authority. Understanding how he did this can help us reassess the meanings and uses of popular science as critique in Cold War America. The essay also shows that E. O. Wilson's sociobiology was in part a reaction to the subversive political message of Ardrey's science.
Webb, Barbara; Wystrach, Antoine
We know more about the ethology of insect navigation than the neural substrates. Few studies have shown direct effects of brain manipulation on navigational behaviour; or measure brain responses that clearly relate to the animal's current location or spatial target, independently of specific sensory cues. This is partly due to the methodological problems of obtaining neural data in a naturally behaving animal. However, substantial indirect evidence, such as comparative anatomy and knowledge of the neural circuits that provide relevant sensory inputs provide converging arguments for the role of some specific brain areas: the mushroom bodies; and the central complex. Finally, modelling can help bridge the gap by relating the computational requirements of a given navigational task to the type of computation offered by different brain areas.
Biological theories of homosexuality fit into the discourse on reproduction and sexuality that began in the nineteenth century. They arose in the context of the early homosexual rights movement, with its claim for natural rights, and the psychiatric discussions about sexual perversions. With the classification of homosexuality as a distinct category, homosexuals were excluded from the "normal". Biological theories of homosexuality were attempts not only to explain its causes, but also to maintain the exclusion of homosexuals as the "other". Biological explanations can be categorized as genetic, constitutional, endocrinological, and ethological. On the one hand, biological theories were used in the struggle for homosexual rights. On the other hand, they were used to "cure"e homosexuals. Every theory led to a specific therapy. This paper points out the roots of this thinking, traces the development of various theories, and shows the utilization of biological theories in treating homosexuality.
Sueur, J; Aubin, T
The cicada species Tibicina haematodes and Cicada orni are two sympatric species often inhabiting vineyards. We show that they occupy two distinct levels: males of T. haematodes produce their calling songs from a high position in vine foliage while males of C. orni call from a low position near the ground on vine trunks. Experiments consisting of broadcasting and re-recording experimental signals in natural habitats from low and high positions show that signals are more and more modified as sender-receiver distance increases. T. haematodes would have an advantage when calling on trunks rather than on branches whereas C. orni would be able to call indiscriminately from both low and high positions. Thus, the microhabitat segregation observed between T. haematodes and C orni in vineyards does not seem to be related to calling song propagation constraints, but may be due to other ethological or ecological factors.
Piertney, S B; Oliver, M K
The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) has become a paradigm for how selection can act to maintain adaptively important genetic diversity in natural populations. Here, we review the contribution of studies on the MHC in non-model species to our understanding of how selection affects MHC diversity, emphasising how ecological and ethological processes influence the tempo and mode of evolution at the MHC, and conversely, how variability at the MHC affects individual fitness, population dynamics and viability. We focus on three main areas: the types of information that have been used to detect the action of selection on MHC genes; the relative contributions of parasite-mediated and sexual selection on the maintenance of MHC diversity; and possible future lines of research that may help resolve some of the unanswered issues associated with MHC evolution.
Marocco, Davide; Nolfi, Stefano
In the field of ethological studies many efforts of researchers are devoted to understand how animals communicate and what is the role of communication from an evolutionary and functional point of view. Progress in this area might also have an impact on our understanding of human communication since animal and human communication systems share several features (Hauser, 1996). The social function played by human language, for instance, is one of the first traits that allows us to place language in the same evolutionary field as other animal communication systems. Moreover, recently also the idea of the uniqueness of human language regarding the representational fashion of the knowledge and the compositionality of signals is challenged by new findings in primate research that indicate that, in baboons, knowledge is representational, based on properties that have discrete values and, from a certain point of view, propositional (Seyfarth et al., 2005).
Elcoro, Mirari; Silva, Stephanie P; Lattal, Kennon A
Operant conditioning with Betta splendens (Bettas) has been investigated extensively using males of the species. Ethological studies of female Bettas have revealed aggressive interactions that qualitatively parallel those between male Bettas. Given these similarities, four experiments were conducted with female Bettas to examine the generality of a widely reported finding with males: mirror-image reinforcement. Swimming through a ring was reinforced by a 10-s mirror presentation. As with males, ring swimming was acquired and maintained when mirror presentations were immediate (Experiments 1, 2, and 3) and delayed (Experiment 4). The failure of conventional extinction (Experiments 1 and 2) and response-independent mirror presentations (Experiment 3) to maintain responding confirmed the reinforcing properties of mirror presentation. These results extend previous findings of mirror images as reinforcers in males of the same species and illustrate a complementarity between behavioral ecology and the experimental analysis of behavior.
Annen, Sigrid; Roser, Patrik; Brüne, Martin
Research has shown that patients with schizophrenia and depression differ from nonclinical subjects in nonverbal behavior. In contrast, there is a paucity of studies addressing differences in nonverbal communication between diagnostic groups and as to what extent nonverbal communication feeds into standard ratings of psychopathology. Twenty-six patients with schizophrenia were compared with 24 patients with affective disorders (13 depressed, 11 manic) regarding their nonverbal behavior using the Ethological Coding System for Interviews. Symptom severity was rated using the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale. Patients with mania displayed more illustrative gestures than did patients with schizophrenia or depression. Subtler behavioral differences between the groups occurred regarding assertive behaviors and displacement activities suggestive of hostility and motivational conflict, respectively. Distinct correlations between nonverbal communication and psychopathology ratings emerged in all three groups. Patients with schizophrenia, depression, and mania differ in nonverbal behavior. Nonverbal communication seems to be a significant contributor to clinicians' intuitive ratings.
Behaviour is usually assumed to depend on the reach of a critical intensity--termed reactivity threshold--by its motivation. This view represents a simple, predictive theoretical framework in ethology and animal psychology. However, it is here argued that only the influence of an isolated motivation on behaviour can be explained that way; that such a view fails to account for behaviour when several motivations are jointly activated. Upon analysis, the classical theory of behaviour (CTB) proves to be under-specified and thus leads to three conceptual problems that make it logically inconsistent for the study of multiple motivations. A revision of the CTB, called anticipatory dynamics model (ADM), is then developed in order to bring a theoretical solution to these conceptual problems. The ADM hypothesizes that an organism's motivational interactions are due to the limitation of the organism's attentional resources.
O'Brien, S J
The recognition of recent accelerated depletion of species as a consequence of human industrial development has spawned a wide interest in identifying threats to endangered species. In addition to ecological and demographic perils, it has become clear that small populations that narrowly survive demographic contraction may undergo close inbreeding, genetic drift, and loss of overall genomic variation due to allelic loss or reduction to homozygosity. I review here the consequences of such genetic depletion revealed by applying molecular population genetic analysis to four endangered mammals: African cheetah, lion, Florida panther, and humpback whale. The accumulated genetic results, combined with physiological, ecological, and ethological data, provide a multifaceted perspective of the process of species diminution. An emerging role of population genetics, phylogenetics, and phylogeography as indicators of a population's natural history and its future prognosis provides valuable data of use in the development of conservation management plans for endangered species. PMID:7912434
Lamarck's theory of the inheritance of acquired characteristics and immediate responses to environmental challenges has offered a promise of protagonism of human beings and their fellow travellers, the other organisms, in the evolutionary process. Darwin's theory about evolution by natural selection does not offer this consolation and does not presuppose anything else other than gradual changes in the composition of natural populations. The study of ecology, ethology, neurobiology, animal culture, psychology and human history reveals that the lamarckian interpretations of change and character transmission processes always assume what they intend to explain, that is previous processes of darwinian evolution that guarantee the adaptive nature of the observed responses. The permanent search of direction and intentionality in evolutionary processes by many scientists suggests the limited acceptance of materialistic explanations as those offered by Darwin's theory.
Dayan, Peter; Daw, Nathaniel D
Decision making is a core competence for animals and humans acting and surviving in environments they only partially comprehend, gaining rewards and punishments for their troubles. Decision-theoretic concepts permeate experiments and computational models in ethology, psychology, and neuroscience. Here, we review a well-known, coherent Bayesian approach to decision making, showing how it unifies issues in Markovian decision problems, signal detection psychophysics, sequential sampling, and optimal exploration and discuss paradigmatic psychological and neural examples of each problem. We discuss computational issues concerning what subjects know about their task and how ambitious they are in seeking optimal solutions; we address algorithmic topics concerning model-based and model-free methods for making choices; and we highlight key aspects of the neural implementation of decision making.
Miklósi, Ádám; Gácsi, Márta
Social robotics is a thriving field in building artificial agents. The possibility to construct agents that can engage in meaningful social interaction with humans presents new challenges for engineers. In general, social robotics has been inspired primarily by psychologists with the aim of building human-like robots. Only a small subcategory of “companion robots” (also referred to as robotic pets) was built to mimic animals. In this opinion essay we argue that all social robots should be seen as companions and more conceptual emphasis should be put on the inter-specific interaction between humans and social robots. This view is underlined by the means of an ethological analysis and critical evaluation of present day companion robots. We suggest that human–animal interaction provides a rich source of knowledge for designing social robots that are able to interact with humans under a wide range of conditions. PMID:22457658
Perisse, Emmanuel; Burke, Christopher; Huetteroth, Wolf; Waddell, Scott
It is now almost forty years since the first description of learning in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Various incarnations of the classic mutagenesis approach envisaged in the early days have provided around one hundred learning defective mutant fly strains. Recent technological advances permit temporal control of neural function in the behaving fly. These approaches have radically changed experiments in the field and have provided a neural circuit perspective of memory formation, consolidation and retrieval. Combining neural perturbations with more classical mutant intervention allows investigators to interrogate the molecular and cellular processes of memory within the defined neural circuits. Here, we summarize some of the progress made in the last ten years that indicates a remarkable conservation of the neural mechanisms of memory formation between flies and mammals. We emphasize that considering an ethologically-relevant viewpoint might provide additional experimental power in studies of Drosophila memory. PMID:24028959
Frank, Stefan L; Bod, Rens; Christiansen, Morten H
It is generally assumed that hierarchical phrase structure plays a central role in human language. However, considerations of simplicity and evolutionary continuity suggest that hierarchical structure should not be invoked too hastily. Indeed, recent neurophysiological, behavioural and computational studies show that sequential sentence structure has considerable explanatory power and that hierarchical processing is often not involved. In this paper, we review evidence from the recent literature supporting the hypothesis that sequential structure may be fundamental to the comprehension, production and acquisition of human language. Moreover, we provide a preliminary sketch outlining a non-hierarchical model of language use and discuss its implications and testable predictions. If linguistic phenomena can be explained by sequential rather than hierarchical structure, this will have considerable impact in a wide range of fields, such as linguistics, ethology, cognitive neuroscience, psychology and computer science.
A hallmark of the developing auditory cortex is the heightened plasticity in the critical period, during which acoustic inputs can indelibly alter cortical function. However, not all sounds in the natural acoustic environment are ethologically relevant. How does the auditory system resolve relevant sounds from the acoustic environment in such an early developmental stage when most associative learning mechanisms are not yet fully functional? What can the auditory system learn from one of the most important classes of sounds, animal vocalizations? How does naturalistic acoustic experience shape cortical sound representation and perception? To answer these questions, we need to consider an unusual strategy, statistical learning, where what the system needs to learn is embedded in the sensory input. Here, I will review recent findings on how certain statistical structures of natural animal vocalizations shape auditory cortical acoustic representations, and how cortical plasticity may underlie learned categorical sound perception. These results will be discussed in the context of human speech perception.
Milam, Erika Lorraine
By the late 1950s, Harry Frank Guggenheim was concerned with understanding why some charismatic leaders fought for freedom, while others sought power and domination. He believed that best-selling books on ethological approaches to animal and human behavior, especially those by playwright and screenwriter Robert Ardrey, promised a key to this dilemma, and he created a foundation that would fund research addressing problems of violence, aggression, and dominance. Under the directorship of Rutgers University professors Robin Fox and Lionel Tiger, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation fostered scientific investigations into the biological basis of human nature. This essay analyzes their discussions of aggression as fundamental to the behavior of men in groups in order to elucidate the private and professional dimensions of masculine networks of US philanthropic and academic authority in the late 1960s and 1970s.
Ethological and evolutionary psychological research has produced evidence that intelligence is not a monolithic functional entity but includes a number of specialized mental abilities to cope with life which even stem from diverse evolutionary origins. One of these subforms of intelligence is called "Machiavellian intelligence," named after the 15/16th century Italian politician and author, Niccolo Machiavelli. It provides individuals or groups with a means of social manipulation in order to attain particular goals. Thus, it builds the psychological basis for the display of power in social groups. Machiavellian intelligence can be observed and evaluated in bands of primates as well as in humans, and there are even tools for measurement in the latter.
J. Bowlby's attachment theory is used to explore a fundamental motivational force in human behaviour, namely the search for physical and emotional protective intimacy according to an integrated viewpoint remote from Freud's drive-based approach. This theory has received contributions from ethology, the neurosciences, psychoanalysis, cognitive psychology and evolutionary epistemology. Attachment patterns or styles express both the mental and behavioural strategies adopted by individuals to cope with their attachment needs, and their relational history in this area. Experiences of adequate quality promote metacognitive functions, namely a set of mental processes whose role is to protect the individual from psychopathological suffering and construct and articulate a sense of self. Attachment theory and metacognition are the underlying assumptions of reflections on the dynamics marking the development of sometimes very difficult relationships between therapists and eating disorder (ED) patients, who are being increasingly classed as "severe patients" on account of their interpersonal characteristics.
Given their backgrounds in classical ethology and in comparative psychology, researchers who study animal personality in biology and psychology, respectively, differ in how they measure personality, what questions they see as important, and how they address these questions. Despite these differences, both comparative psychologists and biologists embrace personality traits. By doing so, they have solved empirical and conceptual problems in animal behavior. Studies of animal personality have provided answers to questions about the evolution of human personality and have presented conceptual and empirical anomalies for sociocognitive theories. Animal personality research does not break from trait theories of personality. Instead, it enriches trait theories by conceiving of traits as not belonging to a species, but as expressed, with some modifications, across species. Broadening trait theory in this way has the potential to further enhance its ability to answer questions related to animal and human personality.
Pulliam, John V K; Dawaghreh, Ahmad M; Alema-Mensah, Ernest; Plotsky, Paul M
Individuals exposed to psychological stressors may experience a long-term resetting of behavioral and neuroendocrine aspects of their "stress response" so that they either hyper or hypo-respond to subsequent stressors. These effects of psychological or traumatic stressors may be mimicked in rats using the resident-intruder model of social defeat. The social defeat model has been characterized to model aspects of the physiology and behavior associated with anxiety and depression. The objective of this study was to determine if behaviors elicited following repeated social defeat can also reflect aspects of ethologically relevant stresses associated with existing post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) models. Socially defeated rats displayed weight loss and an enhanced and prolonged response to acoustic startle which was displayed for up to 10days following repeated social defeat. These data indicate that the severe stress of social defeat can produce physiologic and behavioral outcomes which may reflect aspects of traumatic psychosocial stress.
Martin, Meredith J; Davies, Patrick T; MacNeill, Leigha A
Navigating the ubiquitous conflict, competition, and complex group dynamics of the peer group is a pivotal developmental task of childhood. Difficulty negotiating these challenges represents a substantial source of risk for psychopathology. Evolutionary developmental psychology offers a unique perspective with the potential to reorganize the way we think about the role of peer relationships in shaping how children cope with the everyday challenges of establishing a social niche. To address this gap, we utilize the ethological reformulation of the emotional security theory as a guide to developing an evolutionary framework for advancing an understanding of the defense strategies children use to manage antagonistic peer relationships and protect themselves from interpersonal threat (Davies and Sturge-Apple, 2007). In this way, we hope to illustrate the value of an evolutionary developmental lens in generating unique theoretical insight and novel research directions into the role of peer relationships in the development of psychopathology.
Abella, Juan; Valenciano, Alberto; Pérez-Ramos, Alejandro; Montoya, Plinio; Morales, Jorge
The fossil bacula, or os penis, constitutes a rare subject of study due to its scarcity in the fossil record. In the present paper we describe five bacula attributed to the bear Indarctos arctoides Depéret, 1895 from the Batallones-3 site (Madrid Basin, Spain). Both the length and morphology of this fossil bacula enabled us to make interpretative approaches to a series of ecological and ethological characters of this bear. Thus, we suggest that I. arctoides could have had prolonged periods of intromission and/or maintenance of intromission during the post-ejaculatory intervals, a multi-male mating system and large home range sizes and/or lower population density. Its size might also have helped females to choose from among the available males. PMID:24058484
Burghardt, Gordon M
What is the nature of comparative psychology and how does or should it relate to evolutionary psychology? This is a time of reassessment of both fields and this article reviews the history of comparative psychology and its relationships with evolutionary psychology, ethology, and other approaches to behavior from the perspective of a former editor of the Journal of Comparative Psychology who has spent many decades engaged in research in animal behavior. Special attention is given to a reassessment of comparative psychology that was carried out in 1987. The various tensions and orientations that seem endemic to comparative psychology may, in fact, be both a strength and weakness as comparative psychology and evolutionary approaches to human psychology return to issues prominent in the late 19th Century, when both fields were just becoming established.
Oleson, Erik B.; Beckert, Michael V.; Morra, Joshua T.; Lansink, Carien S.; Cachope, Roger; Abdullah, Rehab A.; Loriaux, Amy L.; Schetters, Dustin; Pattij, Tommy; Roitman, Mitchell F.; Lichtman, Aron H.; Cheer, Joseph F.
SUMMARY Transient increases in nucleus accumbens (NAc) dopamine concentration are observed when animals are presented with motivationally salient stimuli and are theorized to energize reward seeking. They arise from high frequency firing of dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), which also results in the release of endocannabinoids from dopamine cell bodies. In this context, endocannabinoids are thought to regulate reward seeking by modulating dopamine signaling, although a direct link has never been demonstrated. To test this, we pharmacologically manipulated endocannabinoid neurotransmission in the VTA while measuring transient changes in dopamine concentration in the NAc during reward seeking. Disrupting endocannabinoid signaling dramatically reduced, whereas augmenting levels of the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2AG) increased, cue-evoked dopamine concentrations and reward seeking. These data suggest that 2AG in the VTA regulates reward seeking by sculpting ethologically relevant patterns of dopamine release during reward-directed behavior. PMID:22284189
Washington, Stuart D; Tillinghast, John S
A prominent hypothesis of hemispheric specialization for human speech and music states that the left and right auditory cortices (ACs) are respectively specialized for precise calculation of two canonically-conjugate variables: time and frequency. This spectral-temporal asymmetry does not account for sex, brain-volume, or handedness, and is in opposition to closed-system hypotheses that restrict this asymmetry to humans. Mustached bats have smaller brains, but greater ethological pressures to develop such a spectral-temporal asymmetry, than humans. Using the Heisenberg-Gabor Limit (i.e., the mathematical basis of the spectral-temporal asymmetry) to frame mustached bat literature, we show that recent findings in bat AC (1) support the notion that hemispheric specialization for speech and music is based on hemispheric differences in temporal and spectral resolution, (2) discredit closed-system, handedness, and brain-volume theories, (3) underscore the importance of sex differences, and (4) provide new avenues for phonological research.
van Schaik, Carel; Graber, Sereina; Schuppli, Caroline; Burkart, Judith
Classical ethology and behavioral ecology did not pay much attention to learning. However, studies of social learning in nature reviewed here reveal the near-ubiquity of reliance on social information for skill acquisition by developing birds and mammals. This conclusion strengthens the plausibility of the cultural intelligence hypothesis for the evolution of intelligence, which assumes that selection on social learning abilities automatically improves individual learning ability. Thus, intelligent species will generally be cultural species. Direct tests of the cultural intelligence hypothesis require good estimates of the amount and kind of social learning taking place in nature in a broad variety of species. These estimates are lacking so far. Here, we start the process of developing a functional classification of social learning, in the form of the social learning spectrum, which should help to predict the mechanisms of social learning involved. Once validated, the categories can be used to estimate the cognitive demands of social learning in the wild.
Krishnan, Vaishnav; Nestler, Eric J.
Much of the current understanding about the pathogenesis of altered mood, impaired concentration and neurovegetative symptoms in major depression has come from animal models. However, because of the unique and complex features of human depression, the generation of valid and insightful depression models has been less straightforward than modeling other disabling diseases like cancer or autoimmune conditions. Today’s popular depression models creatively merge ethologically valid behavioral assays with the latest technological advances in molecular biology and automated video-tracking. This chapter reviews depression assays involving acute stress (e.g., forced swim test), models consisting of prolonged physical or social stress (e.g., social defeat), models of secondary depression, genetic models, and experiments designed to elucidate the mechanisms of antidepressant action. These paradigms are critically evaluated in relation to their ease, validity and replicability, the molecular insights that they have provided, and their capacity to offer the next generation of therapeutics for depression. PMID:21225412
The author tries with the help of a cultural model to explain the increase of mental illnessess in women since the last world war. Her parameters, taken from Bateson, are ; group systems (complementary, symetrical and reciprocal différenciation) and some aspects : cultural, structural, pragmatical and ethological linked to conformism, needs and emotions. Following her analysis she concludes that four factors are responsible for this increase of feminine mental illness : 1) change in social aspirations now more oriented towards self-fullfilment than usefulness 2) necessity to be happy for two in marriage without the benifice of an autonomous position 3) difficulty to self-assert and know her own needs 4) repression of the anger caused by the frustrations of her situation. The author ends her thesis with helping suggestions on how to live this transitory period.
Nevo, E; Heth, G; Beiles, A; Frankenberg, E
We compared and contrasted the physical structure of male "courtship" calls of 59 subterranean mole rats belonging to the Spalax ehrenbergi superspecies in Israel, comprising 11 populations of four chromosomal species (2N = 52, 54, 58, and 60). We also conducted behavioral auditory discrimination tests of 144 females of the four species in the laboratory. The results indicate that each chromosomal species has a vocal dialect significantly different from all others, although the call of 2N = 60, the last derivative of speciation, is not yet fully differentiated. Females of 2N = 52, 54, and 58 preferred their homospecific mates' calls, whereas females of 2N = 60 did not. We conclude that call differentiation builds up gradually and provides an efficient ethological reproductive premating isolation mechanism between the emerging species in the active speciation of mole rats in Israel. PMID:3472211
Kidd, Celeste; Hayden, Benjamin Y
Curiosity is a basic element of our cognition, but its biological function, mechanisms, and neural underpinning remain poorly understood. It is nonetheless a motivator for learning, influential in decision-making, and crucial for healthy development. One factor limiting our understanding of it is the lack of a widely agreed upon delineation of what is and is not curiosity. Another factor is the dearth of standardized laboratory tasks that manipulate curiosity in the lab. Despite these barriers, recent years have seen a major growth of interest in both the neuroscience and psychology of curiosity. In this Perspective, we advocate for the importance of the field, provide a selective overview of its current state, and describe tasks that are used to study curiosity and information-seeking. We propose that, rather than worry about defining curiosity, it is more helpful to consider the motivations for information-seeking behavior and to study it in its ethological context.
Vaillant, George E.
This paper proposes that eight positive emotions: awe, love (attachment), trust (faith), compassion, gratitude, forgiveness, joy and hope constitute what we mean by spirituality. These emotions have been grossly ignored by psychiatry. The two sciences that I shall employ to demonstrate this definition of spirituality will be ethology and neuroscience. They are both very new. I will argue that spirituality is not about ideas, sacred texts and theology; rather, spirituality is all about emotion and social connection. Specific religions, for all their limitations, are often the portal through which positive emotions are brought into conscious attention. Neither Freud nor psychiatric textbooks ever mention emotions like joy and gratitude. Hymns and psalms give these emotions pride of place. Our whole concept of psychotherapy might change if clinicians set about enhancing positive emotions rather than focusing only on negative emotions. PMID:22013350
O'Brien, S J
The recognition of recent accelerated depletion of species as a consequence of human industrial development has spawned a wide interest in identifying threats to endangered species. In addition to ecological and demographic perils, it has become clear that small populations that narrowly survive demographic contraction may undergo close inbreeding, genetic drift, and loss of overall genomic variation due to allelic loss or reduction to homozygosity. I review here the consequences of such genetic depletion revealed by applying molecular population genetic analysis to four endangered mammals: African cheetah, lion, Florida panther, and humpback whale. The accumulated genetic results, combined with physiological, ecological, and ethological data, provide a multifaceted perspective of the process of species diminution. An emerging role of population genetics, phylogenetics, and phylogeography as indicators of a population's natural history and its future prognosis provides valuable data of use in the development of conservation management plans for endangered species.
Hoffman, Adam M; Song, Jianjian; Tuttle, Elaina M
Operant devices have been used for many years in animal behavior research, yet such devices a regenerally highly specialized and quite expensive. Although commercial models are somewhat adaptable and resilient, they are also extremely expensive and are controlled by difficult to learn proprietary software. As an alternative to commercial devices, we have designed and produced a fully functional, programmable operant device, using a PICmicro microcontroller (Microchip Technology, Inc.). The electronic operant testing apparatus (ELOPTA) is designed to deliver food when a study animal, in this case a bird, successfully depresses the correct sequence of illuminated keys. The device logs each keypress and can detect and log whenever a test animal i spositioned at the device. Data can be easily transferred to a computer and imported into any statistical analysis software. At about 3% the cost of a commercial device, ELOPTA will advance behavioral sciences, including behavioral ecology, animal learning and cognition, and ethology.
Vaillant, George E
This paper proposes that eight positive emotions: awe, love/attachment, trust/faith, compassion, gratitude, forgiveness, joy and hope constitute what we mean by spirituality. These emotions have been grossly ignored by psychiatry. The two sciences that I shall employ to demonstrate this definition of spirituality will be ethology and neuroscience. They are both very new. I will argue that spirituality is not about ideas, sacred texts and theology. Rather, spirituality is all about emotion and social connection that are more dependent on the limbic system than the cortex. Specific religions, for all their limitations, are often the portal through which positive emotions are brought into conscious attention. Neither Freud nor psychiatric textbooks ever mention emotions like joy and gratitude. Hymns and psalms give these emotions pride of place. Our whole concept of psychotherapy might change, if clinicians set about enhancing positive emotions, rather than focusing only on the negative ones.
Elcoro, Mirari; da Silva, Stephanie P; Lattal, Kennon A
Operant conditioning with Betta splendens (Bettas) has been investigated extensively using males of the species. Ethological studies of female Bettas have revealed aggressive interactions that qualitatively parallel those between male Bettas. Given these similarities, four experiments were conducted with female Bettas to examine the generality of a widely reported finding with males: mirror-image reinforcement. Swimming through a ring was reinforced by a 10–s mirror presentation. As with males, ring swimming was acquired and maintained when mirror presentations were immediate (Experiments 1, 2, and 3) and delayed (Experiment 4). The failure of conventional extinction (Experiments 1 and 2) and response-independent mirror presentations (Experiment 3) to maintain responding confirmed the reinforcing properties of mirror presentation. These results extend previous findings of mirror images as reinforcers in males of the same species and illustrate a complementarity between behavioral ecology and the experimental analysis of behavior. PMID:18683612
Lemke, Matthias R.; Schleidt, Margret
Human behavior is structured by serial order and timing of functionally related groups of movements with a duration of a few seconds. These elementary action units have been described in ethological studies during unstaged everyday behavior, but not during interview sessions. Psychomotor alterations are relevant for differential diagnosis and treatment, and psychiatric patients are generally evaluated during interview sessions. Therefore the time structure of upper limb movements (n=764) of healthy subjects (n=22) were studied using videotaped interviews and frame-by-frame analysis and compared to movements (n=530) of unstaged human everyday behavior (n=154). The number of action units, but not their duration, was correlated inversely with self-reported impairment of mood and pleasure experience in healthy persons. The temporal distribution of movements in interview sessions did not differ from the time patterns of everyday behavior. This method could be a promising tool to investigate time patterns of movements and psychomotor alterations in psychiatric patients during interview sessions.
White, Mark; Pettitt, Paul; Schreve, Danielle
This paper examines the hunting strategies employed by Neanderthals at a series of kill or near-kill sites from the Middle Palaeolithic of Europe (Mauran, La Borde, Taubach, Zwoleń and Salzgitter Lebenstedt). Using palaeolandscape reconstructions and animal ethology as our context, we adopt a multifaceted approach that views hunting as a chaîne opératoire involving the decisions and actions of both the hunter and the hunted, which together help reconstruct a forensic picture of past events as they unfolded. Our conclusions indicate that Neanderthals did not necessarily pre-select individuals from a herd, who they then isolated, pursued and killed, but rather ambushed whole groups, which they slaughtered indiscriminately. There is strong evidence, however, that Neanderthals were highly selective in the carcasses they then chose to process. Our conclusions suggest that Neanderthals were excellent tacticians, casual executioners and discerning diners.
Frank, Stefan L.; Bod, Rens; Christiansen, Morten H.
It is generally assumed that hierarchical phrase structure plays a central role in human language. However, considerations of simplicity and evolutionary continuity suggest that hierarchical structure should not be invoked too hastily. Indeed, recent neurophysiological, behavioural and computational studies show that sequential sentence structure has considerable explanatory power and that hierarchical processing is often not involved. In this paper, we review evidence from the recent literature supporting the hypothesis that sequential structure may be fundamental to the comprehension, production and acquisition of human language. Moreover, we provide a preliminary sketch outlining a non-hierarchical model of language use and discuss its implications and testable predictions. If linguistic phenomena can be explained by sequential rather than hierarchical structure, this will have considerable impact in a wide range of fields, such as linguistics, ethology, cognitive neuroscience, psychology and computer science. PMID:22977157
Kidd, Celeste; Hayden, Benjamin Y.
SUMMARY Curiosity is a basic element of our cognition, yet its biological function, mechanisms, and neural underpinning remain poorly understood. It is nonetheless a motivator for learning, influential in decision-making, and crucial for healthy development. One factor limiting our understanding of it is the lack of a widely agreed upon delineation of what is and is not curiosity; another factor is the dearth of standardized laboratory tasks that manipulate curiosity in the lab. Despite these barriers, recent years have seen a major growth of interest in both the neuroscience and psychology of curiosity. In this Perspective, we advocate for the importance of the field, provide a selective overview of its current state, and describe tasks that are used to study curiosity and information-seeking. We propose that, rather than worry about defining curiosity, it is more helpful to consider the motivations for information-seeking behavior and to study it in its ethological context. PMID:26539887
Kirste, Imke; Nicola, Zeina; Kronenberg, Golo; Walker, Tara L; Liu, Robert C; Kempermann, Gerd
We have previously hypothesized that the reason why physical activity increases precursor cell proliferation in adult neurogenesis is that movement serves as non-specific signal to evoke the alertness required to meet cognitive demands. Thereby a pool of immature neurons is generated that are potentially recruitable by subsequent cognitive stimuli. Along these lines, we here tested whether auditory stimuli might exert a similar non-specific effect on adult neurogenesis in mice. We used the standard noise level in the animal facility as baseline and compared this condition to white noise, pup calls, and silence. In addition, as patterned auditory stimulus without ethological relevance to mice we used piano music by Mozart (KV 448). All stimuli were transposed to the frequency range of C57BL/6 and hearing was objectified with acoustic evoked potentials. We found that except for white noise all stimuli, including silence, increased precursor cell proliferation (assessed 24 h after labeling with bromodeoxyuridine, BrdU). This could be explained by significant increases in BrdU-labeled Sox2-positive cells (type-1/2a). But after 7 days, only silence remained associated with increased numbers of BrdU-labeled cells. Compared to controls at this stage, exposure to silence had generated significantly increased numbers of BrdU/NeuN-labeled neurons. Our results indicate that the unnatural absence of auditory input as well as spectrotemporally rich albeit ethological irrelevant stimuli activate precursor cells-in the case of silence also leading to greater numbers of newborn immature neurons-whereas ambient and unstructured background auditory stimuli do not.
Weisman, Ronald G
Modeled on Medawar's Advice to a Young Scientist [Medawar, P.B., 1979. Advice to a Young Scientist. Basic Books, New York], this article provides advice to behavioral and cognitive scientists. An important guiding principle is that the study of comparative cognition and behavior are natural sciences tasked with explaining nature. The author advises young scientists to begin with a natural phenomenon and then bring it into the laboratory, rather than beginning in the laboratory and hoping for an application in nature. He suggests collaboration as a way to include research outside the scientist's normal competence. He then discusses several guides to good science. These guides include Tinbergen's [Tinbergen, N., 1963. On aims and methods of ethology. Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie, 20, 410-433. This journal was renamed Ethology in 1986. Also reprinted in Anim. Biol. 55, 297-321, 2005] four "why" questions, Platt's [Platt, J.R., 1964. Strong inference. Science 146, 347-353, (http://weber.ucsd.edu/~jmoore/courses/Platt1964.pdf)] notion of strong inference using multiple alternative hypotheses, and the idea that positive controls help scientists to follow Popper's [Popper, K.R., 1959. The Logic of Scientific Discovery. Basic Books, New York, p. 41] advice about disproving hypotheses. The author also recommends Strunk and White's [Strunk, W., White, E.B., 1979. The Elements of Style, third ed. Macmillan, New York] rules for sound writing, and he provides his personal advice on how to use the anticipation of peer review to improve research and how to decode editors' and reviewers' comments about submitted articles.
Shepard, Kathryn N.; Chong, Kelly K.
Tonotopic map plasticity in the adult auditory cortex (AC) is a well established and oft-cited measure of auditory associative learning in classical conditioning paradigms. However, its necessity as an enduring memory trace has been debated, especially given a recent finding that the areal expansion of core AC tuned to a newly relevant frequency range may arise only transiently to support auditory learning. This has been reinforced by an ethological paradigm showing that map expansion is not observed for ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) or for ultrasound frequencies in postweaning dams for whom USVs emitted by pups acquire behavioral relevance. However, whether transient expansion occurs during maternal experience is not known, and could help to reveal the generality of cortical map expansion as a correlate for auditory learning. We thus mapped the auditory cortices of maternal mice at postnatal time points surrounding the peak in pup USV emission, but found no evidence of frequency map expansion for the behaviorally relevant high ultrasound range in AC. Instead, regions tuned to low frequencies outside of the ultrasound range show progressively greater suppression of activity in response to the playback of ultrasounds or pup USVs for maternally experienced animals assessed at their pups’ postnatal day 9 (P9) to P10, or postweaning. This provides new evidence for a lateral-band suppression mechanism elicited by behaviorally meaningful USVs, likely enhancing their population-level signal-to-noise ratio. These results demonstrate that tonotopic map enlargement has limits as a construct for conceptualizing how experience leaves neural memory traces within sensory cortex in the context of ethological auditory learning. PMID:27957529
Turesson, Hjalmar K.; Ribeiro, Sidarta
The complexity of human communication has often been taken as evidence that our language reflects a true evolutionary leap, bearing little resemblance to any other animal communication system. The putative uniqueness of the human language poses serious evolutionary and ethological challenges to a rational explanation of human communication. Here we review ethological, anatomical, molecular, and computational results across several species to set boundaries for these challenges. Results from animal behavior, cognitive psychology, neurobiology, and semiotics indicate that human language shares multiple features with other primate communication systems, such as specialized brain circuits for sensorimotor processing, the capability for indexical (pointing) and symbolic (referential) signaling, the importance of shared intentionality for associative learning, affective conditioning and parental scaffolding of vocal production. The most substantial differences lie in the higher human capacity for symbolic compositionality, fast vertical transmission of new symbols across generations, and irreversible accumulation of novel adaptive behaviors (cultural ratchet). We hypothesize that increasingly-complex vocal conditioning of an appropriate animal model may be sufficient to trigger a semiotic ratchet, evidenced by progressive sign complexification, as spontaneous contact calls become indexes, then symbols and finally arguments (strings of symbols). To test this hypothesis, we outline a series of conditioning experiments in the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus). The experiments are designed to probe the limits of vocal communication in a prosocial, highly vocal primate 35 million years far from the human lineage, so as to shed light on the mechanisms of semiotic complexification and cultural transmission, and serve as a naturalistic behavioral setting for the investigation of language disorders. PMID:26500583
Korff, Schaun; Harvey, Brian H
Animal models have shown progressive development and have undoubtedly proven their supportive value in OCD research. Thus, various animal models have confirmed the importance of the 5-HT [72-74] and dopamine systems [104,111] in the neurobiology and treatment of OCD. Given the neurochemical, emotional, and cognitive complexity of the disorder, how-ever, animal models are being used to investigate more and more complicated neurochemical and behavioral theories purported to underlie OCD. The lever-press model, for example, has implicated deficient response feed-back in a neural system that regulates operant behavior . Studies on stereotypic movement disorder  have opened a new avenue of investigation into the neurobiology of stereotypy that may be applicable to more complex syndromes such as OCD. Models that have focused on specific neuropsychologic aspects of OCD such as reward , displacement behavior[63,101], perseveration and indecisiveness [73,102], and spontaneous stereotypy [90,94] are important in their attempt to unify the diverse behavioral manifestations of this disorder. It is clear that for a deeper, more holistic understanding of OCD, multiple animal models will be needed to allow investigation of the various aspects of the disorder and to provide convergent validation of the research findings. The heterogeneous nature of OCD, the various subtypes that exist within the disorder, and the range of obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders suggest that particular questions regarding OCD may be addressed best by us-ing a particular ethologic model, whereas other questions might require a pharmacologic model or a combination of both for meaningful results[62,115]. Genetic models will be extremely useful for studying the genetics of pathologic behavior and for relating these findings to neuroanatomic and neurochemical changes in the model (eg, DICT-7 mice as a model for Tourette's syndrome and OCD). Neither ethologic nor pharmacologic models, however
Peters, James F.; Szturm, Tony; Borkowski, Maciej; Lockery, Dan; Ramanna, Sheela; Shay, Barbara
This chapter introduces a wireless, pervasive computing approach to adaptive therapeutic telegaming considered in the context of near set theory. Near set theory provides a formal basis for observation, comparison and classification of perceptual granules. A perceptual granule is defined by a collection of objects that are graspable by the senses or by the mind. In the proposed pervasive computing approach to telegaming, a handicapped person (e.g., stroke patient with limited hand, finger, arm function) plays a video game by interacting with familiar instrumented objects such as cups, cutlery, soccer balls, nozzles, screw top-lids, spoons, so that the technology that makes therapeutic exercise game-playing possible is largely invisible (Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 89:2213-2217, 2008). The basic approach to adaptive learning (AL) in the proposed telegaming environment is ethology-inspired and is quite different from the traditional approach to reinforcement learning. In biologically-inspired learning, organisms learn to achieve some goal by durable modification of behaviours in response to signals from the environment resulting from specific experiences (Animal Behavior, 1995). The term adaptive is used here in an ethological sense, where learning by an organism results from modifying behaviour in response to perceived changes in the environment. To instill adaptivity in a video game, it is assumed that learning by a video game is episodic. During an episode, the behaviour of a player is measured indirectly by tracking the occurrence of gaming events such as a hit or a miss of a target (e.g., hitting a moving ball with a game paddle). An ethogram provides a record of behaviour feature values that provide a basis a functional registry for handicapped players for gaming adaptivity. An important practical application of adaptive gaming is therapeutic rehabilitation exercise carried out in parallel with playing action video games. Enjoyable and
Tafforin, Carole; Vinokhodova, Alla; Chekalina, Angelina; Gushin, Vadim
Studies of social groups under isolation and confinement for the needs of space psychology were mostly limited by questionnaires completed with batteries of subjective tests, and they needed to be correlated with video recordings for objective analyses in space ethology. The aim of the present study is to identify crewmembers' behavioral profiles for better understanding group dynamics during a 520-day isolation and confinement of the international crew (n=6) participating to the "Mars-500" interplanetary simulation. We propose to correlate data from PSPA (Personal Self-Perception and Attitudes) computerized test, sociometric questionnaires and color choices test (Luscher test) used to measure anxiety levels, with data of video analysis during group discussion (GD) and breakfast time (BT). All the procedures were implemented monthly - GD, or twice a month - BT. Firstly, we used descriptive statistics for displaying quantitative subjects' behavioral profiles, supplied with a software based-solution: the Observer XT®. Secondly, we used Spearmen's nonparametric correlation analysis. The results show that for each subject, the level of non-verbal behavior ("visual interactions", "object interactions", "body interaction", "personal actions", "facial expressions", and "collateral acts") is higher than the level of verbal behavior ("interpersonal communication in Russian", and "interpersonal communication in English"). From the video analyses, dynamics profiles over months are different between the crewmembers. From the correlative analyses, we found highly negative correlations between anxiety and interpersonal communications; and between the sociometric parameter "popularity in leisure environment" and anxiety level. We also found highly significant positive correlations between the sociometric parameter "popularity in working environment" and interpersonal communications, and facial expressions; and between the sociometric parameter "popularity in leisure environment
Leonard, Anne S; Masek, Pavel
Karl von Frisch's studies of bees' color vision and chemical senses opened a window into the perceptual world of a species other than our own. A century of subsequent research on bees' visual and olfactory systems has developed along two productive but independent trajectories, leaving the questions of how and why bees use these two senses in concert largely unexplored. Given current interest in multimodal communication and recently discovered interplay between olfaction and vision in humans and Drosophila, understanding multisensory integration in bees is an opportunity to advance knowledge across fields. Using a classic ethological framework, we formulate proximate and ultimate perspectives on bees' use of multisensory stimuli. We discuss interactions between scent and color in the context of bee cognition and perception, focusing on mechanistic and functional approaches, and we highlight opportunities to further explore the development and evolution of multisensory integration. We argue that although the visual and olfactory worlds of bees are perhaps the best-studied of any non-human species, research focusing on the interactions between these two sensory modalities is vitally needed.
Lau, Jenny Y. Y.; Pang, Chun-Chiu; Ramsden, Lawrence; Saunders, Richard M. K.
The floral phenology, pollination ecology and breeding systems of two sympatric early-divergent angiosperms, Goniothalamus tapisoides and G. suaveolens (Annonaceae) are compared. The flowers are protogynous and morphologically similar, with anthesis over 23–25 h. Both species are predominantly xenogamous and pollinated by small beetles: G. tapisoides mainly by Curculionidae and G. suaveolens mainly by Nitidulidae. Coevolution and reproductive resource partitioning, reducing interspecific pollen transfer, is achieved by temporal isolation, due to contrasting floral phenologies; and ethological isolation, due to contrasting floral scents that contain attractants specific to the two beetle families. Analysis of floral scents revealed three volatiles (3-methylbutyl acetate, ethyl hexanoate and 2-phenylethanol) that are known to be nitidulid attractants in the floral scent of G. suaveolens, but absent from that of G. tapisoides. An effective pollinator trapping mechanism is demonstrated for both species, representing the first such report for the family. Trapping is achieved by the compression of the outer petals against the apertures between the inner petals. This trapping mechanism is likely to be a key evolutionary innovation for Goniothalamus, increasing pollination efficiency by increasing pollen loading on beetles during the staminate phase, promoting effective interfloral pollinator movements, and increasing seed-set by enabling rapid turn-over of flowers. PMID:27767040
Hegab, Ibrahim M; Shang, Guoshen; Ye, Manhong; Jin, Yajuan; Wang, Aiqin; Yin, Baofa; Yang, Shengmei; Wei, Wanhong
Predator odors are non-intrusive natural stressors of high ethological relevance. The objective of this study was to investigate the processing of a chronic, life-threatening stimulus during repeated prolonged presentation to Brandt's voles. One hundred and twenty voles were tested by repeated presentation of cat feces in a defensive withdrawal apparatus. Voles exposed to feces for short periods showed more avoidance, more concealment in the hide box, less contact time with the odor source, more freezing behavior, less grooming, more jumping, and more vigilant rearing than did non-exposed voles, and those exposed for longer periods. Serum levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone and corticosterone increased significantly when animals were repeatedly exposed to cat feces for short periods. The behavioral and endocrine responses habituated during prolonged presentation of cat feces. ΔfosB mRNA expression level was highest in voles exposed to cat feces for 6 and 12 consecutive days, and subsequently declined in animals exposed to cat feces for 24 days. We therefore conclude that the behavioral and endocrine responses to repeated exposure to cat feces undergo a process of habituation, while ΔfosB changes in the medial hypothalamic region exhibit sensitization. We propose that habituation and sensitization are complementary rather than contradictory processes that occur in the same individual upon repeated presentation of the same stressor.
Maesani, Andrea; Fernando, Pradeep Ruben; Floreano, Dario
Evolutionary algorithms are widespread heuristic methods inspired by natural evolution to solve difficult problems for which analytical approaches are not suitable. In many domains experimenters are not only interested in discovering optimal solutions, but also in finding the largest number of different solutions satisfying minimal requirements. However, the formulation of an effective performance measure describing these requirements, also known as fitness function, represents a major challenge. The difficulty of combining and weighting multiple problem objectives and constraints of possibly varying nature and scale into a single fitness function often leads to unsatisfactory solutions. Furthermore, selective reproduction of the fittest solutions, which is inspired by competition-based selection in nature, leads to loss of diversity within the evolving population and premature convergence of the algorithm, hindering the discovery of many different solutions. Here we present an alternative abstraction of artificial evolution, which does not require the formulation of a composite fitness function. Inspired from viability theory in dynamical systems, natural evolution and ethology, the proposed method puts emphasis on the elimination of individuals that do not meet a set of changing criteria, which are defined on the problem objectives and constraints. Experimental results show that the proposed method maintains higher diversity in the evolving population and generates more unique solutions when compared to classical competition-based evolutionary algorithms. Our findings suggest that incorporating viability principles into evolutionary algorithms can significantly improve the applicability and effectiveness of evolutionary methods to numerous complex problems of science and engineering, ranging from protein structure prediction to aircraft wing design.
Rationale Preclinical data indicates that threat stimuli elicit two classes of defensive behaviors, those that are associated with imminent danger and are characterized by avoidance or fight (fear), and those that are associated with temporally uncertain danger and are characterized by sustained apprehension and hypervigilance (anxiety). Objective To 1) review evidence for a distinction between fear and anxiety in animal and human experimental models using the startle reflex as an operational measure of aversive states, 2) describe experimental models of anxiety, as opposed to fear, in humans, 3) examine the relevance of these models to clinical anxiety. Results The distinction between phasic fear to imminent threat and sustained anxiety to temporally uncertain danger is suggested by psychopharmacological and behavioral evidence from ethological studies and can be traced back to distinct neuroanatomical systems, the amygdala and the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. Experimental models of anxiety, not fear, are relevant to non-phobic anxiety disorders. Conclusions Progress in our understanding of normal and abnormal anxiety is critically dependent on our ability to model sustained aversive states to temporally uncertain threat. PMID:18058089
RUI, BIYU; GUO, SHANGCHUN; ZENG, BINGFANG; WANG, JINGWU; CHEN, XIN
This study evaluated an implantable electrical stimulator using a sciatic nerve injury animal model, and ethological, electrophysiological and histological assessments. Forty Sprague-Dawley rats were used in the study, and were subjected to crushing of the right sciatic nerve with a micro-vessel clamp. Electrical stimulators were implanted in twenty of the rats (the implantation group), while the remaining twenty rats were assigned to the control group. At three and six weeks following the surgery, the sciatic nerve function index (SFI) and the motor nerve conduction velocity (MCV) were demonstrated to be significantly higher in the implantation group compared with the control group (P<0.05). Histological analysis, using hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining, showed the typical pathological atrophy, and an assessment of the nerve that had been crushed revealed distal axonal breakdown in the control group. These results suggest that the implantable electrical stimulator was effective, and was suitable for implantation in a Sprague-Dawley rat model. PMID:23935712
Szirovicza, Leonóra; López, Pilar; Kopena, Renáta; Benkő, Mária; Martín, José; Pénzes, Judit J.
Here, we report the results of a large-scale PCR survey on the prevalence and diversity of adenoviruses (AdVs) in samples collected randomly from free-living reptiles. On the territories of the Guadarrama Mountains National Park in Central Spain and of the Chafarinas Islands in North Africa, cloacal swabs were taken from 318 specimens of eight native species representing five squamate reptilian families. The healthy-looking animals had been captured temporarily for physiological and ethological examinations, after which they were released. We found 22 AdV-positive samples in representatives of three species, all from Central Spain. Sequence analysis of the PCR products revealed the existence of three hitherto unknown AdVs in 11 Carpetane rock lizards (Iberolacerta cyreni), nine Iberian worm lizards (Blanus cinereus), and two Iberian green lizards (Lacerta schreiberi), respectively. Phylogeny inference showed every novel putative virus to be a member of the genus Atadenovirus. This is the very first description of the occurrence of AdVs in amphisbaenian and lacertid hosts. Unlike all squamate atadenoviruses examined previously, two of the novel putative AdVs had A+T rich DNA, a feature generally deemed to mirror previous host switch events. Our results shed new light on the diversity and evolution of atadenoviruses. PMID:27399970
Davies, Patrick T.; Martin, Meredith J.
Although children’s security in the context of the interparental relationship has been identified as a key explanatory mechanism in pathways between family discord and child psychopathology, little is known about the inner workings of emotional security as a goal system. Accordingly, the objective of this paper is to describe how our reformulation of emotional security theory (EST-R) within an ethological and evolutionary framework may advance the characterization of the architecture and operation of emotional security and, in the process, cultivate sustainable growing points in developmental psychopathology. The first section of the paper describes how children’s security in the interparental relationship is organized around a distinctive behavioral system designed to defend against interpersonal threat. Building on this evolutionary foundation for emotional security, the paper offers an innovative taxonomy for identifying qualitatively different ways children try to preserve their security and its innovative implications for more precisely informing understanding of the mechanisms in pathways between family and developmental precursors and children’s trajectories of mental health. In the final section, the paper highlights the potential of EST-R to stimulate new generations of research on understanding how children defend against social threats in ecologies beyond the interparental dyad, including both familial and extrafamilial settings. PMID:24342849
Wöhr, Markus; Scattoni, Maria Luisa
Autism is a behaviourally defined disorder including attenuated or abnormal social interaction and communication, as well as aberrant repetitive behaviour, with symptoms emerging early in childhood. Although the cause of autism has not been discovered, several data strongly support the role of genetic factors in autism aetiology. For this reason, preclinical research is now focusing on generating transgenic and knockout mice, and more recently also rats, with mutations in genes identified in autistic children, with the main aim of understanding the role of those genes in autism aetiology, discovering the biological mechanisms underlying autistic behaviours detected in these mutant lines and evaluating potential treatments. Over the last years, a huge number of behavioural phenotyping assays for rodent models of autism and related disorders have been designed. In the first part of our review, we focus on current standards, i.e. state-of-the-art behavioural phenotyping tasks to assess autism core symptoms in rodent models. The second part is devoted to some few, in our view, very promising examples of new developments, namely an autism severity score, scent marking behaviour as an additional, ethologically valid measure for communication, plus a number of new developments in the behavioural domains of social facilitation, observational learning, and empathy. Finally, we will highlight the huge potential impact of newly generated rat knockout models of autism.
Wilson, Mark E.; Fisher, Jeff; Fischer, Andrew; Lee, Vanessa; Harris, Ruth B.; Bartness, Timothy J.
Obesity results from a number of factors including socio-environmental influences and rodent models show that several different stressors increase the preference for calorically dense foods leading to an obese phenotype. We present here a non-human primate model using socially housed adult female macaques living in long-term stable groups given access to diets of different caloric density. Consumption of a low fat (LFD; 15% of calories from fat) and a high fat diet (HFD; 45% of calories from fat) was quantified by means of a custom-built, automated feeder that dispensed a pellet of food when activated by a radiofrequency chip implanted subcutaneously in the animal’s wrist. Socially subordinate females showed indices of chronic psychological stress having reduced glucocorticoid negative feedback and higher frequencies of anxiety-like behavior. Twenty-four hour intakes of both the LFD and HFD were significantly greater in subordinates than dominates, an effect that persisted whether standard monkey chow (13% of calories from fat) was present or absent. Furthermore, although dominants restricted their food intake to daylight, subordinates continued to feed at night. Total caloric intake was significantly correlated with body weight change. Collectively, these results show that food intake can be reliably quantified in non-human primates living in complex social environments and suggest that socially-subordinate females consume more calories, suggesting this ethologically relevant model may help understand how psychosocial stress changes food preferences and consumption leading to obesity. PMID:18486158
Clifford, J J; Waddington, J L
The effects of three selective D(4) antagonists [CP-293,019, L-745, 870, and Ro 61-6270] and two putative selective D(4) agonists [CP-226,269 and PD 168077] were compared with those of the generic D(2)-like [D(2L/S),D(3), D(4)] antagonist haloperidol to identify any characteristic "ethogram," in terms of individual topographies of behavior within the natural rodent repertoire, as evaluated using ethologically based approaches. Among the D(4) antagonists, neither L-745,870 (0.0016-1.0 mg/kg) nor Ro 61-6270 (0.2-25.0 mg/kg) influenced any behavior; whereas, CP-293,019 (0.2-25.0 mg/kg) induced episodes of nonstereotyped sniffing, sifting, and vacuous chewing; there were no consistent effects on responsivity to the D(2)-like agonist RU 24213. Among the putative D(4) agonists, CP-226, 269 (0.2-25.0 mg/kg) failed to influence any behavior; whereas, PD 168077 (0.2-25.0 mg/kg) induced nonstereotyped shuffling locomotion with uncoordinated movements, jerking, and yawning, which were insensitive to antagonism by CP-293,019, L-745,870, or haloperidol. These findings fail to indicate any "ethogram" for selective manipulation of D(4) receptor function at the level of the interaction between motoric and psychological processes in sculpting behavioral topography over habituation of exploration through to quiescence and focus attention on social, cognitive, or other levels of examination.
Soso, Simone B; Koziel, Jacek A; Johnson, Anna; Lee, Young Jin; Fairbanks, W Sue
In conjoining the disciplines of "ethology" and "chemistry" the field of "Ethochemistry" has been instituted. Ethochemistry is an effective tool in conservation efforts of endangered species and the understanding of behavioral patterns across all species. Chemical constituents of scent-markings have an important, yet poorly understood function in territoriality, reproduction, dominance, and impact on evolutionary biology, especially in large mammals. Particular attention has recently been focused on scent-marking analysis of great cats (Kalahari leopards (Panthera pardus), puma (Puma concolor) snow leopard (Panthera uncia), African lions (Panthera leo), cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), and tigers (Panthera tigris)) for the purpose of conservation. Sensory analyses of scent-markings could address knowledge gaps in ethochemistry. The objective of this review is to summarize the current state-of-the art of both the chemical and sensory analyses of scent-markings in wild mammals. Specific focus is placed on sampling and sample preparation, chemical analysis, sensory analysis, and simultaneous chemical and sensory analyses. Constituents of exocrine and endocrine secretions have been most commonly studied with chromatography-based analytical separations. Odor analysis of scent-markings provides an insight into the animal's sensory perception. A limited number of articles have been published in the area of sensory characterization of scent marks. Simultaneous chemical and sensory analyses with chromatography-olfactometry hyphenation could potentially aid conservation efforts by linking perceived odor, compounds responsible for odor, and resulting behavior.
Knecht, Richard J.; Engel, Michael S.; Benner, Jacob S.
Insects were the first animals to evolve powered flight and did so perhaps 90 million years before the first flight among vertebrates. However, the earliest fossil record of flying insect lineages (Pterygota) is poor, with scant indirect evidence from the Devonian and a nearly complete dearth of material from the Early Carboniferous. By the Late Carboniferous a diversity of flying lineages is known, mostly from isolated wings but without true insights into the paleoethology of these taxa. Here, we report evidence of a full-body impression of a flying insect from the Late Carboniferous Wamsutta Formation of Massachusetts, representing the oldest trace fossil of Pterygota. Through ethological and morphological analysis, the trace fossil provides evidence that its maker was a flying insect and probably was representative of a stem-group lineage of mayflies. The nature of this current full-body impression somewhat blurs distinctions between the systematics of traces and trace makers, thus adding to the debate surrounding ichnotaxonomy for traces with well-associated trace makers. PMID:21464315
Johannes, Bernd; Sitev, Alexej S.; Vinokhodova, Alla G.; Salnitski, Vyacheslav P.; Savchenko, Eduard G.; Artyukhova, Anna E.; Bubeev, Yuri A.; Tafforin, Carole; Basner, Mathias; Dinges, David F.; Rittweger, Jörn
Group structure and cohesion along with their changes over time play an important role in the success of missions where crew members spend prolonged periods of time under conditions of isolation and confinement. Therefore, an objective system for unobtrusive monitoring of crew cohesion and possible individual stress reactions is of high interest. For this purpose, an experimental wireless group structure (WLGS) monitoring system integrated into a mobile psychophysiological system was developed. In the presented study the WLGS module was evaluated separately in six male subjects (27–38 years old) participating in a 520-day simulated mission to Mars. Two days per week, each crew member wore a small sensor that registered the presence and distance of the sensors either worn by the other subjects or strategically placed throughout the isolation facility. The registration between two sensors was on average 91.0% in accordance. A correspondence of 95.7% with the survey video on day 475 confirmed external reliability. An integrated score of the “crew relation time index” was calculated and analyzed over time. Correlation analyses of a sociometric questionnaire (r = .35-.55, p< .05) and an ethological group approach (r = .45-.66, p < 05) provided initial evidence of the method's validity as a measure of cohesion when taking behavioral and activity patterns into account (e.g. only including activity phases in the afternoon). This confirms our assumption that the registered amount of time spent together during free time is associated with the intensity of personal relationships. PMID:26252656
Hegab, Ibrahim M; Jin, Yajuan; Ye, Manhong; Wang, Aiqin; Yin, Baofa; Yang, Shengmei; Wei, Wanhong
Predator odors are non-intrusive natural stressors of high ethological relevance. Animals are daily challenged with stressors of varying intensity and it is essential for their survival to respond to a wide range of threats. Behavioral and hormonal responses and changes in the level of medial hypothalamic c-fos mRNA were examined in Brandt's voles (Lasiopodomys brandtii) exposed to the feces of a domestic cat (Felis catus) stored for different periods. One hundred voles were tested in the defensive withdrawal apparatus. The voles showed an aversion to freshly collected cat feces, indicated by high levels of flight-related behaviors, increased freezing behavior, and more vigilant rearing compared to old feces. The serum levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone and corticosterone significantly increased when the voles were exposed to fresh cat feces. The level of c-fos mRNA in the medial hypothalamic region was highest in the individuals exposed to fresh cat feces. All of these behavioral, endocrine and c-fos-mRNA responses were lower when voles were subjected to older cat feces. We conclude that these responses depend on volatile chemical constituents of cat feces rather than their physical characteristics and that this accounts for the lower responses to feces stored for longer periods.
Scocco, Paola; Brusaferro, Andrea; Catorci, Andrea
Although the Geographical Information System (GIS), which integrates computerized drawing computer assisted design (CAD) and relational databases (data base management system (DBMS)), is best known for applications in geographical and planning cartography, it can also use many kinds of information concerning the territory. A multidisciplinary project was initiated since 5 years a multidisciplinary study was initiated to use GIS to integrate environmental and ecological data with findings on animal health, ethology, and anatomy. This study is chiefly aimed at comparing two different methods for measuring the absorptive surface of rumen papillae. To this scope, 21 female sheep (Ovis aries) on different alimentary regimes (e.g., milk and forage mixed diet, early herbaceous diet, dry hay diet, and fresh hay diet at the maximum of pasture flowering and at the maximum of pasture dryness) were used; after slaughtering, 20 papillae were randomly removed from each sample collected from four indicator regions of rumen wall, placed near a metric reference and digitally photographed. The images were developed with the ArcGIS™ software to calculate the area of rumen papillae by means of GIS and to measure their mid-level width and length to calculate the papillae area as previously performed with a different method. Spatial measurements were analyzed using univariate and multivariate methods. This work demonstrates that the GIS methodology can be efficiently used for measuring the absorptive surface of rumen papillae. In addition, GIS demonstrated to be a rapid, precise, and objective tool when compared with previously used method.
Khani, Abbas; Rainer, Gregor
Decision making is an adaptive behavior that takes into account several internal and external input variables and leads to the choice of a course of action over other available and often competing alternatives. While it has been studied in diverse fields ranging from mathematics, economics, ecology, and ethology to psychology and neuroscience, recent cross talk among perspectives from different fields has yielded novel descriptions of decision processes. Reinforcement-guided decision making models are based on economic and reinforcement learning theories, and their focus is on the maximization of acquired benefit over a defined period of time. Studies based on reinforcement-guided decision making have implicated a large network of neural circuits across the brain. This network includes a wide range of cortical (e.g., orbitofrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex) and subcortical (e.g., nucleus accumbens and subthalamic nucleus) brain areas and uses several neurotransmitter systems (e.g., dopaminergic and serotonergic systems) to communicate and process decision-related information. This review discusses distinct as well as overlapping contributions of these networks and neurotransmitter systems to the processing of decision making. We end the review by touching on neural circuitry and neuromodulatory regulation of exploratory decision making.
Concepts of innateness were at the heart of Darwin's approach to behavior and central to the ethological theorizing of Lorenz and, at least to start with, of Tinbergen. Then Tinbergen did an about face, and for some twenty years the term 'innate' became highly suspect. He attributed the change to Lehrman's famous 1953 critique in which he asserted that classifying behaviors as innate tells us nothing about how they develop. Although Lehrman made many valid points, I will argue that this exchange also led to profound misunderstandings that were ultimately damaging to progress in research on the development of behavior. The concept of 'instincts to learn', receiving renewed support from current theorizing among geneticists about phenotypic plasticity, provides a potential resolution of some of the controversies that Lehrman created. Bioacoustical studies, particularly on song learning in birds, serve both to confirm some of Lehrman's anxieties about the term 'innate', but also to make a case that he threw out the genetic baby with the bathwater. The breathtaking progress in molecular and developmental genetics has prepared the way for a fuller understanding of the complexities underlying even the simplest notions of innate behavior, necessary before we can begin to comprehend the ontogeny of behavior.
Washington, Stuart D.; Tillinghast, John S.
A prominent hypothesis of hemispheric specialization for human speech and music states that the left and right auditory cortices (ACs) are respectively specialized for precise calculation of two canonically-conjugate variables: time and frequency. This spectral-temporal asymmetry does not account for sex, brain-volume, or handedness, and is in opposition to closed-system hypotheses that restrict this asymmetry to humans. Mustached bats have smaller brains, but greater ethological pressures to develop such a spectral-temporal asymmetry, than humans. Using the Heisenberg-Gabor Limit (i.e., the mathematical basis of the spectral-temporal asymmetry) to frame mustached bat literature, we show that recent findings in bat AC (1) support the notion that hemispheric specialization for speech and music is based on hemispheric differences in temporal and spectral resolution, (2) discredit closed-system, handedness, and brain-volume theories, (3) underscore the importance of sex differences, and (4) provide new avenues for phonological research. PMID:25926767
Chabout, Jonathan; Sarkar, Abhra; Dunson, David B.; Jarvis, Erich D.
In 2005, Holy and Guo advanced the idea that male mice produce ultrasonic vocalizations (USV) with some features similar to courtship songs of songbirds. Since then, studies showed that male mice emit USV songs in different contexts (sexual and other) and possess a multisyllabic repertoire. Debate still exists for and against plasticity in their vocalizations. But the use of a multisyllabic repertoire can increase potential flexibility and information, in how elements are organized and recombined, namely syntax. In many bird species, modulating song syntax has ethological relevance for sexual behavior and mate preferences. In this study we exposed adult male mice to different social contexts and developed a new approach of analyzing their USVs based on songbird syntax analysis. We found that male mice modify their syntax, including specific sequences, length of sequence, repertoire composition, and spectral features, according to stimulus and social context. Males emit longer and simpler syllables and sequences when singing to females, but more complex syllables and sequences in response to fresh female urine. Playback experiments show that the females prefer the complex songs over the simpler ones. We propose the complex songs are to lure females in, whereas the directed simpler sequences are used for direct courtship. These results suggest that although mice have a much more limited ability of song modification, they could still be used as animal models for understanding some vocal communication features that songbirds are used for. PMID:25883559
Coty, David; Aria, Cédric; Garrouste, Romain; Wils, Patricia; Legendre, Frédéric; Nel, André
We describe here a co-occurrence (i.e. a syninclusion) of ants and termites in a piece of Mexican amber (Totolapa deposit, Chiapas), whose importance is two-fold. First, this finding suggests at least a middle Miocene antiquity for the modern, though poorly documented, relationship between Azteca ants and Nasutitermes termites. Second, the presence of a Neivamyrmex army ant documents an in situ raiding behaviour of the same age and within the same community, confirmed by the fact that the army ant is holding one of the termite worker between its mandibles and by the presence of a termite with bitten abdomen. In addition, we present how CT-scan imaging can be an efficient tool to describe the topology of resin flows within amber pieces, and to point out the different states of preservation of the embedded insects. This can help achieving a better understanding of taphonomical processes, and tests ethological and ecological hypotheses in such complex syninclusions. PMID:25140873
Depickère, Stéphanie; Fresneau, Dominique; Deneubourg, Jean-Louis
In social species, the interactions that occur between individuals and also between individuals and their environment can lead to various spatial distributions. Our goal was to understand how both factors (social and environmental) can affect such spatial distribution of individuals. Aggregation experiments were conducted on the ant Crematogaster scutellaris: the level of inter-attraction between individuals was characterized and the influence of an environmental factor (light intensity) was studied. Two ethological castes (brood-tenders and foragers) were tested, showing a strong and similar aggregation pattern-although faster for foragers. This difference could be explained by a higher degree of inter-attraction for brood-tenders, resulting in longer interaction time and therefore a slower aggregation rate. We also showed the influence of light conditions by carrying out experiments in total darkness and under red light. C. scutellaris appeared highly sensitive to the red light, aggregating just underneath it. Nevertheless, the level of aggregation is not affected by the luminosity condition. These results are discussed in relation to the ecology of the species, and are compared with results obtained in another ant species, Lasius niger, which exhibits a similar response to aggregation. We propose, therefore, a general link between the level/pattern of aggregation and polyethism in ants.
Blum, V; Kreuzberg, K
The paper explains the basic conception of a "Closed Equilibrated Biological Aquatic System" (C.E.B.A.S.) incorporated in a Aquarack as a research tool for zoological, botanical and interdisciplinary research in space biology and describes the construction principle of laboratory prototype consisting of a modular habitat for aquatic animals a semi-biological/physical water recycling system and a computerized control unit. Further on the running scientific frame program in which as well five german and two U.S.-universities as the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine are involved is presented which includes the subtopics reproductive biology, genetics, embryology/teratology, neurobiology, vestibularis research, stress research general endocrinology, ethology, gerontology and skeleton research. Within this the choice of the experimental animals, the teleost Xiphophorus helleri (vertebrate model) and the pulmonate snail Biomphalaria glabrata (invertebrate model) is explained. Examples of results of the scientific program mainly derive from the hardware-related research and from the reproductive biology subproject with X. helleri.
Wang, Melissa E; Fraize, Nicolas P; Yin, Linda; Yuan, Robin K; Petsagourakis, Despina; Wann, Ellen G; Muzzio, Isabel A
The study of fear memory is important for understanding various anxiety disorders in which patients experience persistent recollections of traumatic events. These memories often involve associations of contextual cues with aversive events; consequently, Pavlovian classical conditioning is commonly used to study contextual fear learning. The use of predator odor as a fearful stimulus in contextual fear conditioning has become increasingly important as an animal model of anxiety disorders. Innate fear responses to predator odors are well characterized and reliable; however, attempts to use these odors as unconditioned stimuli in fear conditioning paradigms have proven inconsistent. Here we characterize a contextual fear conditioning paradigm using coyote urine as the unconditioned stimulus. We found that contextual conditioning induced by exposure to coyote urine produces long-term freezing, a stereotypic response to fear observed in mice. This paradigm is context-specific and parallels shock-induced contextual conditioning in that it is responsive to extinction training and manipulations of predator odor intensity. Region-specific lesions of the dorsal and ventral hippocampus indicate that both areas are independently required for the long-term expression of learned fear. These results in conjunction with c-fos immunostaining data suggest that while both the dorsal and ventral hippocampus are required for forming a contextual representation, the ventral region also modulates defensive behaviors associated with predators. This study provides information about the individual contributions of the dorsal and ventral hippocampus to ethologically relevant fear learning.
The Heisenberg-James-Stapp (quantum mechanical) mind model is surveyed and criticized briefly. The criticism points out that the model, while being essentially consistent concerning (human) consciousness, fundamentally lacks the evolutional point of view both onto- and phylogenetically. Ethology and other than Jamesian psychology is quoted and a quantum mechanical theoretical scheme is suggested to essentially extend Stapp's frame in an evolutionary context. It is proposed that its central supposition, spontaneous quantum measurement can be better utilized in an investigation of the origin of the "subjective" process, having come about concomitantly with the chemistry of the origin of life. We dwell on its applicability at this latter process, at its heart standing, it is supposed, the endophysical nonlinear "self-measurement" of (quantum mechanically describable) matter, and so our investigation is extended to this primeval phenomenon. It is suggested that the life phenomenon is an indirect C* → (W*) → C* quantum algebraic process transition, where the (W*) system would represent the living state. Summarized also are our previous results on an internalized, "reversed", time process, introduced originally by Gunji, which is subordinated to the external "forwards" time evolution, driving towards symmetry by gradual space-mappings, where the original splitting-up must have come about in a spontaneous symmetry breaking nonlinear "self-measurement" of matter in an endophysical World.
Groves, James O; Leslie, Isla; Huang, Guo-Jen; McHugh, Stephen B; Taylor, Amy; Mott, Richard; Munafò, Marcus; Bannerman, David M; Flint, Jonathan
The function of adult neurogenesis in the rodent brain remains unclear. Ablation of adult born neurons has yielded conflicting results about emotional and cognitive impairments. One hypothesis is that adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus enables spatial pattern separation, allowing animals to distinguish between similar stimuli. We investigated whether spatial pattern separation and other putative hippocampal functions of adult neurogenesis were altered in a novel genetic model of neurogenesis ablation in the rat. In rats engineered to express thymidine kinase (TK) from a promoter of the rat glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), ganciclovir treatment reduced new neurons by 98%. GFAP-TK rats showed no significant difference from controls in spatial pattern separation on the radial maze, spatial learning in the water maze, contextual or cued fear conditioning. Meta-analysis of all published studies found no significant effects for ablation of adult neurogenesis on spatial memory, cue conditioning or ethological measures of anxiety. An effect on contextual freezing was significant at a threshold of 5% (P = 0.04), but not at a threshold corrected for multiple testing. The meta-analysis revealed remarkably high levels of heterogeneity among studies of hippocampal function. The source of this heterogeneity remains unclear and poses a challenge for studies of the function of adult neurogenesis.
Chaboo, Caroline S.; Engel, Michael S.; Chamorro-Lacayo, Maria Lourdes
Complex ethological adaptations and intraspecific interactions leave few fossil traces. We document three Dominican (20 million years old [myo]) and Baltic (45 myo) amber fossils that exhibit firm evidence of highly integrated interactions between mothers and offspring in the diverse camptosomate lineage of beetles (Chrysomelidae, leaf beetles). As in contemporary species, these hard cases were initially constructed by mothers, then inherited and retained by offspring, which then elaborate this protective domicile with an unusual but economical building material, their feces. The three fossils are classified in the Subfamily Cryptocephalinae; two are classified in the tribe Chlamisini based on morphological evidence—the flattened head lacking a sharp keel and long legs with simple recurved untoothed claws. These diagnostic features are not clearly visible in the third specimen to permit more refined identification. These fossils provide more precise paleontological dating of tribal nodes within the cryptocephaline radiation of leaf beetles. These fossils are the first and earliest evidence of mother-offspring interaction, building behavior, and fecal recycling in Camptosomata beetles and of inheritance of architectural structures in beetles.
St-Cyr, Sophie; McGowan, Patrick O.
Perinatal stress mediated through the mother can lead to long-term alterations in stress-related phenotypes in offspring. The capacity for adaptation to adversity in early life depends in part on the life history of the animal. This study was designed to examine the behavioral and neural response in adult offspring to prenatal exposure to predator odor: an ethologically-relevant psychological stressor. Pregnant mice were exposed daily to predator odors or distilled water control over the second half of the pregnancy. Predator odor exposure lead to a transient decrease in maternal care in the mothers. As adults, the offspring of predator odor-exposed mothers showed increased anti-predator behavior, a predator-odor induced decrease in activity and, in female offspring, an increased corticosterone (CORT) response to predator odor exposure. We found a highly specific response among stress-related genes within limbic brain regions. Transcript abundance of Corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor 1 (CRHR1) was elevated in the amygdala in adult female offspring of predator odor-exposed mothers. In the hippocampus of adult female offspring, decreased Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) transcript abundance was correlated with a site-specific decrease in DNA methylation in Bdnf exon IV, indicating the potential contribution of this epigenetic mechanism to maternal programming by maternal predator odor exposure. These data indicate that maternal predator odor exposure alone is sufficient to induce an altered stress-related phenotype in adulthood, with implications for anti-predator behavior in offspring. PMID:26082698
Capaldi, E A; Smith, A D; Osborne, J L; Fahrbach, S E; Farris, S M; Reynolds, D R; Edwards, A S; Martin, A; Robinson, G E; Poppy, G M; Riley, J R
Cognitive ethology focuses on the study of animals under natural conditions to reveal ecologically adapted modes of learning. But biologists can more easily study what an animal learns than how it learns. For example, honeybees take repeated 'orientation' flights before becoming foragers at about three weeks of age. These flights are a prerequisite for successful homing. Little is known about these flights because orienting bees rapidly fly out of the range of human observation. Using harmonic radar, we show for the first time a striking ontogeny to honeybee orientation flights. With increased experience, bees hold trip duration constant but fly faster, so later trips cover a larger area than earlier trips. In addition, each flight is typically restricted to a narrow sector around the hive. Orientation flights provide honeybees with repeated opportunities to view the hive and landscape features from different viewpoints, suggesting that bees learn the local landscape in a progressive fashion. We also show that these changes in orientation flight are related to the number of previous flights taken instead of chronological age, suggesting a learning process adapted to changes in weather conditions, flower availability and the needs of bee colonies.
Coleman, Kristine; Pierre, Peter J.
Anxiety can be broadly described as a psychological state in which normally innocuous environmental stimuli trigger negative emotional expectations. Human anxiety disorders are multidimensional and may be organic or acquired, situational or pervasive. The broad ranging nature of the anxiety phenotype speaks to the need for models that identify its various components and root causes to develop effective clinical treatments. The cross-species comparative approach to modeling anxiety disorders in animals aims to understand mechanisms that both contribute to and modulate anxiety. Nonhuman primate models provide an important bridge from nonprimate model systems because of the complexity of nonhuman primates’ biobehavioral capacities and their commonalities with human emotion. The broad goal of this review is to provide an overview of various procedures available to study anxiety in the nonhuman primate, with a focus on the behavioral aspects of anxiety. Commonly used methods covered in this review include assessing animals in their home environment or in response to an ethologically relevant threat, associative conditioning and startle response tests, and cognitive bias tests. We also discuss how these procedures can help veterinarians and researchers care for captive nonhuman primates. PMID:25225310
Rochais, C.; Fureix, C.; Lesimple, C.; Hausberger, M.
Chronic pain is thought to affect patients’ cognitive functioning, including attention. Loss of attention is likely to have an impact on the execution of daily tasks, and, therefore, to have negative effects. However, relationships between chronic pain and cognitive deficits are still debated. Pre-clinical studies using laboratory animals prove useful to model pain-related cognitive impairment, but animal models had to predict effects in the real world. This study investigates attentional engagement of domestic horses by comparing observations in a home setting and evaluations of vertebral disorders. We found that lower attentional engagement and the level of back disorders were correlated. Two different evaluation techniques of the state of horses’ spines gave similar results. We suggest that novel animal models would prove useful for identifying spontaneous behaviours indicative of chronic pain. We suggest that more ethological studies in human patients’ home environments would help to improve our understanding of the processes involved. Finally, these results yield interesting indications for evaluating animal welfare, as attentional engagement could become a reliable indicator of chronic pain and thus a useful tool for identification of suffering individuals. PMID:26823123
In 1935, the graylag goose Martina (1935-?) hatched from an egg in the home of the zoologist Konrad Lorenz (1903-1989). Martina imprinted on Lorenz, slept in his bedroom, mated with the gander Martin, and flew off in 1937. Over the following decades, Konrad Lorenz helped to establish the discipline of ethology, received a share of the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and continued to write about his famous goose Martina. This essay examines the different instantiations of the geese in general, and Martina in particular, in Lorenz's writings aimed at readerships that included prewar zoologists, National Socialist psychologists, and popular audiences from the 1930s to 1980s. By developing an animal with her own biography, Lorenz created an individual whose lived and rhetorical agency made her especially well suited to perform widely divergent aspects of his evolving science. While a significant literature in the history of science has explored the standardization and stabilization of animals in science, I show how Lorenz's creation of a highly protean and increasingly public Martina was co-constitutive of the establishment of the science and public persona.
Enquist, Magnus; Lind, Johan; Ghirlanda, Stefano
Behaving efficiently (optimally or near-optimally) is central to animals' adaptation to their environment. Much evolutionary biology assumes, implicitly or explicitly, that optimal behavioural strategies are genetically inherited, yet the behaviour of many animals depends crucially on learning. The question of how learning contributes to optimal behaviour is largely open. Here we propose an associative learning model that can learn optimal behaviour in a wide variety of ecologically relevant circumstances. The model learns through chaining, a term introduced by Skinner to indicate learning of behaviour sequences by linking together shorter sequences or single behaviours. Our model formalizes the concept of conditioned reinforcement (the learning process that underlies chaining) and is closely related to optimization algorithms from machine learning. Our analysis dispels the common belief that associative learning is too limited to produce 'intelligent' behaviour such as tool use, social learning, self-control or expectations of the future. Furthermore, the model readily accounts for both instinctual and learned aspects of behaviour, clarifying how genetic evolution and individual learning complement each other, and bridging a long-standing divide between ethology and psychology. We conclude that associative learning, supported by genetic predispositions and including the oft-neglected phenomenon of conditioned reinforcement, may suffice to explain the ontogeny of optimal behaviour in most, if not all, non-human animals. Our results establish associative learning as a more powerful optimizing mechanism than acknowledged by current opinion.
Fagot, Joël; Marzouki, Yousri; Huguet, Pascal; Gullstrand, Julie; Claidière, Nicolas
Fagot & Paleressompoulle1 and Fagot & Bonte2 have published an automated learning device (ALDM) for the study of cognitive abilities of monkeys maintained in semi-free ranging conditions. Data accumulated during the last five years have consistently demonstrated the efficiency of this protocol to investigate individual/physical cognition in monkeys, and have further shown that this procedure reduces stress level during animal testing3. This paper demonstrates that networks of ALDM can also be used to investigate different facets of social cognition and in-group expressed behaviors in monkeys, and describes three illustrative protocols developed for that purpose. The first study demonstrates how ethological assessments of social behavior and computerized assessments of cognitive performance could be integrated to investigate the effects of socially exhibited moods on the cognitive performance of individuals. The second study shows that batteries of ALDM running in parallel can provide unique information on the influence of the presence of others on task performance. Finally, the last study shows that networks of ALDM test units can also be used to study issues related to social transmission and cultural evolution. Combined together, these three studies demonstrate clearly that ALDM testing is a highly promising experimental tool for bridging the gap in the animal literature between research on individual cognition and research on social cognition. PMID:25992495
Begall, Sabine; Červený, Jaroslav; Neef, Julia; Vojtěch, Oldřich; Burda, Hynek
We demonstrate by means of simple, noninvasive methods (analysis of satellite images, field observations, and measuring “deer beds” in snow) that domestic cattle (n = 8,510 in 308 pastures) across the globe, and grazing and resting red and roe deer (n = 2,974 at 241 localities), align their body axes in roughly a north–south direction. Direct observations of roe deer revealed that animals orient their heads northward when grazing or resting. Amazingly, this ubiquitous phenomenon does not seem to have been noticed by herdsmen, ranchers, or hunters. Because wind and light conditions could be excluded as a common denominator determining the body axis orientation, magnetic alignment is the most parsimonious explanation. To test the hypothesis that cattle orient their body axes along the field lines of the Earth's magnetic field, we analyzed the body orientation of cattle from localities with high magnetic declination. Here, magnetic north was a better predictor than geographic north. This study reveals the magnetic alignment in large mammals based on statistically sufficient sample sizes. Our findings open horizons for the study of magnetoreception in general and are of potential significance for applied ethology (husbandry, animal welfare). They challenge neuroscientists and biophysics to explain the proximate mechanisms. PMID:18725629
Greco, Monica; Solomon, Judith
Research on attachment is widely regarded in sociology and feminist scholarship as politically conservative – oriented by a concern to police families, pathologize mothers and emphasize psychological at the expense of socio-economic factors. These critiques have presented attachment theory as constructing biological imperatives to naturalize contingent, social demands. We propose that a more effective critique of the politically conservative uses of attachment theory is offered by engaging with the ‘attachment system’ at the level of ontology. In developing this argument we draw on Deleuze and Guattari, making use of the common language of ethology which links their ideas to that of attachment theory. The attachment system can and has been reified into an image of the infant returning to their caregiver as an image of familial sufficiency. This has offered ammunition for discourses and institutions which isolate women from health, social and political resources. Yet Deleuze and Guattari can help attachment theory and research to be recognized as a powerful ally for progressive politics, for reflection on the movement of human individuation, and for arguing for the meaningful resourcing of those who care for someone else. PMID:27110049
Berman, Gordon; Bialek, William; Shaevitz, Joshua
The last decades have seen an explosion in our ability to characterize the molecular, cellular and genetic building blocks of life; the ingredients out of which we try to explain the rich and compelling behavior of living organisms. Our characterization of behavior itself, however, has advanced more slowly. Since modern ethology was founded over a century ago, behavioral experiments have focused largely on a restricted set of behaviors within the scope of a limited environment. Moreover, the set of behaviors to be examined is often user-defined, creating the potential for human bias and anthropomorphism. The research presented here describes a data-driven methodology for analyzing animal behavior, focusing on the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, as a model system. Towards this end, we have built an imaging system that can track single flies as they move about a relatively unencumbered environment. Utilizing this capacity to generate large data sets of animal behavior, we have developed a method for automatically identifying behavioral states using techniques from image analysis, machine learning, and nonlinear dynamics. Identifying these states provides the starting point for many analyses and creates the possibility for automatic phenotyping of subtle behavioral traits.
Johannes, Bernd; Sitev, Alexej S; Vinokhodova, Alla G; Salnitski, Vyacheslav P; Savchenko, Eduard G; Artyukhova, Anna E; Bubeev, Yuri A; Morukov, Boris V; Tafforin, Carole; Basner, Mathias; Dinges, David F; Rittweger, Jörn
Group structure and cohesion along with their changes over time play an important role in the success of missions where crew members spend prolonged periods of time under conditions of isolation and confinement. Therefore, an objective system for unobtrusive monitoring of crew cohesion and possible individual stress reactions is of high interest. For this purpose, an experimental wireless group structure (WLGS) monitoring system integrated into a mobile psychophysiological system was developed. In the presented study the WLGS module was evaluated separately in six male subjects (27-38 years old) participating in a 520-day simulated mission to Mars. Two days per week, each crew member wore a small sensor that registered the presence and distance of the sensors either worn by the other subjects or strategically placed throughout the isolation facility. The registration between two sensors was on average 91.0% in accordance. A correspondence of 95.7% with the survey video on day 475 confirmed external reliability. An integrated score of the "crew relation time index" was calculated and analyzed over time. Correlation analyses of a sociometric questionnaire (r = .35-.55, p< .05) and an ethological group approach (r = .45-.66, p < 05) provided initial evidence of the method's validity as a measure of cohesion when taking behavioral and activity patterns into account (e.g. only including activity phases in the afternoon). This confirms our assumption that the registered amount of time spent together during free time is associated with the intensity of personal relationships.
Gantois, Ilse; Fang, Ke; Jiang, Luning; Babovic, Daniela; Lawrence, Andrew J.; Ferreri, Vincenzo; Teper, Yaroslav; Jupp, Bianca; Ziebell, Jenna; Morganti-Kossmann, Cristina M.; O'Brien, Terence J.; Nally, Rachel; Schütz, Günter; Waddington, John; Egan, Gary F.; Drago, John
Huntington's disease is characterized by death of striatal projection neurons. We used a Cre/Lox transgenic approach to generate an animal model in which D1 dopamine receptor (Drd1a)+ cells are progressively ablated in the postnatal brain. Striatal Drd1a, substance P, and dynorphin expression is progressively lost, whereas D2 dopamine receptor (Drd2) and enkephalin expression is up-regulated. Magnetic resonance spectroscopic analysis demonstrated early elevation of the striatal choline/creatine ratio, a finding associated with extensive reactive striatal astrogliosis. Sequential MRI demonstrated a progressive reduction in striatal volume and secondary ventricular enlargement confirmed to be due to loss of striatal cells. Mutant mice had normal gait and rotarod performance but displayed hindlimb dystonia, locomotor hyperactivity, and handling-induced electrographically verified spontaneous seizures. Ethological assessment identified an increase in rearing and impairments in the oral behaviors of sifting and chewing. In line with the limbic seizure profile, cell loss, astrogliosis, microgliosis, and down-regulated dynorphin expression were seen in the hippocampal dentate gyrus. This study specifically implicates Drd1a+ cell loss with tail suspension hindlimb dystonia, hyperactivity, and abnormal oral function. The latter may relate to the speech and swallowing disturbances and the classic sign of tongue-protrusion motor impersistence observed in Huntington's disease. In addition, the findings of this study support the notion that Drd1a and Drd2 are segregated on striatal projection neurons. PMID:17360497
Montiel-Castro, Augusto J; González-Cervantes, Rina M; Bravo-Ruiseco, Gabriela; Pacheco-López, Gustavo
Recent data suggest that the human body is not such a neatly self-sufficient island after all. It is more like a super-complex ecosystem containing trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms that inhabit all our surfaces; skin, mouth, sexual organs, and specially intestines. It has recently become evident that such microbiota, specifically within the gut, can greatly influence many physiological parameters, including cognitive functions, such as learning, memory and decision making processes. Human microbiota is a diverse and dynamic ecosystem, which has evolved in a mutualistic relationship with its host. Ontogenetically, it is vertically inoculated from the mother during birth, established during the first year of life and during lifespan, horizontally transferred among relatives, mates or close community members. This micro-ecosystem serves the host by protecting it against pathogens, metabolizing complex lipids and polysaccharides that otherwise would be inaccessible nutrients, neutralizing drugs and carcinogens, modulating intestinal motility, and making visceral perception possible. It is now evident that the bidirectional signaling between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain, mainly through the vagus nerve, the so called "microbiota-gut-vagus-brain axis," is vital for maintaining homeostasis and it may be also involved in the etiology of several metabolic and mental dysfunctions/disorders. Here we review evidence on the ability of the gut microbiota to communicate with the brain and thus modulate behavior, and also elaborate on the ethological and cultural strategies of human and non-human primates to select, transfer and eliminate microorganisms for selecting the commensal profile.
Rind, F. Claire; Wernitznig, Stefan; Pölt, Peter; Zankel, Armin; Gütl, Daniel; Sztarker, Julieta; Leitinger, Gerd
In locusts, two lobula giant movement detector neurons (LGMDs) act as looming object detectors. Their reproducible responses to looming and their ethological significance makes them models for single neuron computation. But there is no comprehensive picture of the neurons that connect directly to each LGMD. We used high-through-put serial block-face scanning-electron-microscopy to reconstruct the network of input-synapses onto the LGMDs over spatial scales ranging from single synapses and small circuits, up to dendritic branches and total excitatory input. Reconstructions reveal that many trans-medullary-afferents (TmAs) connect the eye with each LGMD, one TmA per facet per LGMD. But when a TmA synapses with an LGMD it also connects laterally with another TmA. These inter-TmA synapses are always reciprocal. Total excitatory input to the LGMD 1 and 2 comes from 131,000 and 186,000 synapses reaching densities of 3.1 and 2.6 synapses per μm2 respectively. We explored the computational consequences of reciprocal synapses between each TmA and 6 others from neighbouring columns. Since any lateral interactions between LGMD inputs have always been inhibitory we may assume these reciprocal lateral connections are most likely inhibitory. Such reciprocal inhibitory synapses increased the LGMD’s selectivity for looming over passing objects, particularly at the beginning of object approach.
The ethologically oriented method of social analysis developed by Edward Westermarck is applied to the subjects of charitable behavior, the welfare ethic, and the link between them. Westermarck dealt with these topics, but not in the depth he accorded the subjects of incest aversion, the incest prohibition, and the connection between them. Westermarck's approach to analyzing incest behavior and regulating institutions is also useful in the case of charitableness and the welfare ethic. Westermarck would have analyzed the welfare ethic as an institution derived from human nature--secundam naturam--in addition to an authoritative discipliner of behavior as proposed by Freud. Evidence is presented that this is the case with the welfare ethic in modern societies. This evidence includes the sensitivity of welfare to ethnic diversity. The latter decreases public altruism, whether expressed as charitableness to beggars, national charities, or public goods. The parochial leaning of charity and the welfare ethic is allowed for by Westermarck's empirically grounded ethics. Despite the passage of nearly a century, Edward Westermarck can still be an instructive guide to the biosociological enterprise. This continuing relevance shows what could have been, and can still be, done with the conceptual tools offered by an evolutionarily informed sociology.
Harro, Jaanus; Kanarik, Margus; Matrov, Denis; Panksepp, Jaak
The search for novel antidepressants may be facilitated by pre-clinical animal models that relay on specific neural circuit and related neurochemical endpoint measures, which are anchored in concrete neuro-anatomical and functional neural-network analyzes. One of the most important initial considerations must be which regions of the brain are candidates for the maladaptive response to depressogenic challenges. Consideration of persistent differences or changes in the activity of cerebral networks can be achieved by mapping oxidative metabolism in ethologically or pathogenetically relevant animal models. Cytochrome oxidase histochemistry is a technique suitable to detect regional long-term brain activity changes relative to control conditions and has been used in a variety of animal models. This work is summarized and indicates that major changes occur mainly in subcortical areas, highlighting specific brain regions where some alterations in regional oxidative metabolism may represent adaptive changes to depressogenic adverse life events, while others may reflect failures of adaptation. Many of these changes in oxidative metabolism may depend upon the integrity of serotonergic neurotransmission, and occur in several brain regions shown by other techniques to be involved in endogenous affective circuits that control emotional behaviors as well as related higher brain regions that integrate learning and cognitive information processing. These brain regions appear as primary targets for further identification of endophenotypes specific to affective disorders.
Gao, Xiaojing J; Potter, Christopher J; Gohl, Daryl M; Silies, Marion; Katsov, Alexander Y
Summary Background Chemotaxis, the ability to direct movements according to chemical cues in the environment, is important for the survival of most organisms. The vinegar fly, Drosophila melanogaster, displays robust olfactory aversion and attraction, but how these behaviors are executed via changes in locomotion remains poorly understood. In particular, it is not clear whether aversion and attraction bi-directionally modulate a shared circuit or recruit distinct circuits for execution. Results Using a quantitative behavioral assay, we determined that both aversive and attractive odorants modulate the initiation and direction of turns, but display distinct kinematics. Using genetic tools to perturb these behaviors, we identified specific populations of neurons required for aversion but not attraction. Inactivation of these populations of cells affected the completion of aversive turns but not their initiation. Optogenetic activation of the same populations of cells triggered a locomotion pattern resembling aversive turns. Perturbations in both the ellipsoid body and the ventral nerve cord, two regions involved in motor control, resulted in defects in aversion. Conclusions Aversive chemotaxis in vinegar flies triggers ethologically appropriate kinematics distinct from those of attractive chemotaxis, and requires specific motor-related neurons. PMID:23770185
Populin, Luis C
Studies of sound localization in humans have used various behavioral measures to quantify the observers' perceptions; a non-comprehensive list includes verbal reports, head pointing, gun pointing, stylus pointing, and laser aiming. Comparison of localization performance reveals that in humans, just as in animals, different results are obtained with different experimental tasks. Accordingly, to circumvent problems associated with task selection and training, this study used gaze, an ethologically valid behavior for spatial pointing in species with a specialized area of the fovea, to measure sound localization perception of human subjects. Orienting using gaze as a pointer does not require training, preserves the natural link between perception and action, and allows for direct behavioral comparisons across species. The results revealed, unexpectedly, a large degree of variability across subjects in both accuracy and precision. The magnitude of the average angular localization errors for the most eccentric horizontal targets, however, were very similar to those documented in studies that used head pointing, whereas the magnitude of the localization errors for the frontal targets were considerably larger. In addition, an overall improvement in sound localization in the context of the memory-saccade task, as well as a lack of effect of initial eye and head position on perceived sound location were documented.
Knecht, Richard J; Engel, Michael S; Benner, Jacob S
Insects were the first animals to evolve powered flight and did so perhaps 90 million years before the first flight among vertebrates. However, the earliest fossil record of flying insect lineages (Pterygota) is poor, with scant indirect evidence from the Devonian and a nearly complete dearth of material from the Early Carboniferous. By the Late Carboniferous a diversity of flying lineages is known, mostly from isolated wings but without true insights into the paleoethology of these taxa. Here, we report evidence of a full-body impression of a flying insect from the Late Carboniferous Wamsutta Formation of Massachusetts, representing the oldest trace fossil of Pterygota. Through ethological and morphological analysis, the trace fossil provides evidence that its maker was a flying insect and probably was representative of a stem-group lineage of mayflies. The nature of this current full-body impression somewhat blurs distinctions between the systematics of traces and trace makers, thus adding to the debate surrounding ichnotaxonomy for traces with well-associated trace makers.
Rindsberg, A.K.; Martin, A.J.
Arthrophycus brongniartii (Harlan, 1832) is common in marginal-marine deposits in the Silurian Red Mountain Formation of Alabama. The ichnospecies, the second to be named in North America, is revived and emended after long disuse. Transitional forms to Rusophycus isp. and other morphologic evidence indicate that the maker of Arthrophycus was an arthropod, perhaps a trinucleine (raphiophorid?) trilobite. Interconnection of Arthrophycus and Nereites biserialis, as well as intergradation of Arthrophycus with Cruziana aff. quadrata, Phycodes flabellum, and Asterosoma ludwigae, indicate that these Red Mountain trace fossils were made by the same species of arthropod. Possible relationships with Arthrophycus alleghaniensis (Harlan, 1831) in the Silurian belt from Ontario to Tennessee are also explored. Ichnofamily Arthrophycidae Schimper, 1879 is emended. The ichnofamily is interpreted as chiefly the work of arthropods. Arthrophycus and other trace fossils from the Silurian of Alabama constitute a test case to build criteria for recognizing the members of complexes of trace fossils. In general, criteria such as interconnection of different forms, intergradation among unconnected forms, similarity of size, similarity of morphologic elements, and co-occurrence should be examined in order to determine the biologic and ethologic interrelationships of trace fossils. ?? 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Cryan, John F; Sweeney, Fabian F
Anxiety disorders are common, serious and a growing health problem worldwide. However, the causative factors, aetiology and underlying mechanisms of anxiety disorders, as for most psychiatric disorders, remain relatively poorly understood. Animal models are an important aid in giving insight into the aetiology, neurobiology and, ultimately, the therapy of human anxiety disorders. The approach, however, is challenged with a number of complexities. In particular, the heterogeneous nature of anxiety disorders in humans coupled with the associated multifaceted and descriptive diagnostic criteria, creates challenges in both animal modelling and in clinical research. In this paper, we describe some of the more widely used approaches for assessing the anxiolytic activity of known and potential therapeutic agents. These include ethological, conflict-based, hyponeophagia, vocalization-based, physiological and cognitive-based paradigms. Developments in the characterization of translational models are also summarized, as are the challenges facing researchers in their drug discovery efforts in developing new anxiolytic drugs, not least the ever-shifting clinical conceptualization of anxiety disorders. In conclusion, to date, although animal models of anxiety have relatively good validity, anxiolytic drugs with novel mechanisms have been slow to emerge. It is clear that a better alignment of the interactions between basic and clinical scientists is needed if this is to change. LINKED ARTICLES This article is part of a themed issue on Translational Neuropharmacology. To view the other articles in this issue visit http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bph.2011.164.issue-4 PMID:21545412
Smith, V.A.; Wada, K.; Rivas, M.V.; McElroy, M.; Smulders, T.V.; Carninci, P.; Hayashizaki, Y.; Dietrich, F.; Wu, X.; McConnell, P.; Yu, J.; Wang, P.P.; Hartemink, A.J.; Lin, S.
Biological systems by default involve complex components with complex relationships. To decipher how biological systems work, we assume that one needs to integrate information over multiple levels of complexity. The songbird vocal communication system is ideal for such integration due to many years of ethological investigation and a discreet dedicated brain network. Here we announce the beginnings of a songbird brain integrative project that involves high-throughput, molecular, anatomical, electrophysiological and behavioral levels of analysis. We first formed a rationale for inclusion of specific biological levels of analysis, then developed high-throughput molecular technologies on songbird brains, developed technologies for combined analysis of electrophysiological activity and gene regulation in awake behaving animals, and developed bioinformatic tools that predict causal interactions within and between biological levels of organization. This integrative brain project is fitting for the interdisciplinary approaches taken in the current songbird issue of the Journal of Comparative Physiology A and is expected to be conducive to deciphering how brains generate and perceive complex behaviors. PMID:12471494
Schomerus, Christof; Korf, Horst-Werner; Laedtke, Elke; Moret, Frédéric; Zhang, Qian; Wicht, Helmut
The authors here present the first anatomical, molecular biological, and ethological data on the organization of the circadian system of a lancelet, Branchiostoma lanceolatum, a close invertebrate relative of vertebrates. B. lanceolatum was found to be a nocturnal animal and, since its rhythmic activity persisted under constant darkness, it also appears to possess an endogenous, circadian oscillator. The authors cloned a homolog of the clock gene Period (Per), which plays a central (inhibitory) role in the biochemical machinery of the circadian oscillators of both vertebrates and protostomians. This gene from B. lanceolatum was designated as amphiPer. Both the sequence of its cDNA and that of the predicted protein are more similar to those of the Per paralogs of vertebrates than to those of the single protostomian Per gene. A strong expression of amphiPer was found in a small cell group in the anterior neural tube. The amphiPer mRNA levels fluctuated in a rhythmic manner, being high early in the day and low late at night. The authors' data suggest a homology of the amphiPer expessing cells to the suprachiasmatic nucleus of vertebrates.
Kubota, Natsuko; Amemiya, Seiichiro; Yanagita, Shinya; Nishijima, Takeshi; Kita, Ichiro
Yawning is often observed not only in a state of boredom or drowsiness but also in stressful emotional situations, suggesting that yawning is an emotional behavior. However, the neural mechanisms for yawning during stressful emotional situations have not been fully determined, though previous studies have suggested that both parvocellular oxytocin (OT) and corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) neurons in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) are responsible for induction of yawning. Thus, using ethological observations and c-Fos immunohistochemistry, we examined whether emotional stress evoked by classical fear conditioning is involved in induction of yawning behavior in freely moving rats. Emotional stress induced yawning behavior that was accompanied by anxiety-related behavior, and caused neuronal activation of the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA), as well as increases in activity of both OT and CRF neurons in the PVN. These results suggest that emotional stress may induce yawning behavior, in which the neuronal activation of the CeA may have a key role.
Vaglio, Stefano; Minicozzi, Pamela; Romoli, Riccardo; Boscaro, Francesca; Pieraccini, Giuseppe; Moneti, Gloriano; Moggi-Cecchi, Jacopo
Mandrills are one of the few Old World primates to show scent-marking. We combined ethological and chemical approaches to improve our understanding of this behavior in 3 zoo-managed groups. We observed the olfactory behavior performed by adults and adolescents (N = 39) for 775h. We investigated the volatile components of sternal scent-marks using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and compared volatile profiles with traits of the signaler. Males marked more than females and within each sex the frequency of scent-marking was related to age and dominance status, but alpha males scent-marked most frequently and particularly in specific areas at the enclosure boundaries. We identified a total of 77 volatile components of sternal gland secretion, including compounds functioning as male sex pheromones in other mammals, in scent-marks spontaneously released on filter paper by 27 male and 18 female mandrills. We confirmed our previous findings that chemical profiles contain information including sex, male age and rank, and we also found that odor may encode information about group membership in mandrills. Our results support the hypotheses that scent-marking signals the status of the dominant male as well as playing territorial functions but also suggest that it is part of sociosexual communication.
Kor, Aşkin; Karaca, Serhat; Ertuğrul, Mehmet
The aim of this study was to determine the fattening performance and the slaughter and carcass characteristics of Akkeçi (Saanen × Kilis (B(1)) crossbred) male kids raised in individual crates (IC) or in group pen housing (GP). In both GP and IC groups, total 13 heads of male kids, whose initial body weights were 21.43 ± 1.03 kg and 20.61 ± 0.98 kg, respectively, evaluated for their fattening performances. After 56 days of the fattening period, the final body weights and average daily weight gains of the GP and IC kids were recorded as 30.84 ± 0.82 kg and 25.84 ± 0.76 kg; 182.42 ± 14.77 g and 92.09 ± 13.76 g, respectively (P < 0.001). Adrenal gland weights of the GP and IC groups were similar as 1.66 ± 0.25 g and 1.77 ± 0.22 g, respectively. Although, the carcass conformation of kids was similar between groups, there were significant differences between GP and IC groups for some slaughter and carcass characteristics. In general, although housing kids reared in individual crates provides opportunity to individually feed and monitor a kid, the results obtained from the individual crates in the present study were not satisfactorily from the ethological and production points of view.
Waters, R Parrish; Pringle, R B; Forster, G L; Renner, K J; Malisch, J L; Garland, T; Swallow, J G
Selective-breeding of house mice for increased voluntary wheel-running has resulted in multiple physiological and behavioral changes. Characterizing these differences may lead to experimental models that can elucidate factors involved in human diseases and disorders associated with physical inactivity, or potentially treated by physical activity, such as diabetes, obesity, and depression. Herein, we present ethological data for adult males from a line of mice that has been selectively bred for high levels of voluntary wheel-running and from a non-selected control line, housed with or without wheels. Additionally, we present concentrations of central monoamines in limbic, striatal, and midbrain regions. We monitored wheel-running for 8 weeks, and observed home-cage behavior during the last 5 weeks of the study. Mice from the selected line accumulated more revolutions per day than controls due to increased speed and duration of running. Selected mice exhibited more active behaviors than controls, regardless of wheel access, and exhibited less inactivity and grooming than controls. Selective-breeding also influenced the longitudinal patterns of behavior. We found statistically significant differences in monoamine concentrations and associated metabolites in brain regions that influence exercise and motivational state. These results suggest underlying neurochemical differences between selected and control lines that may influence the observed differences in behavior. Our results bolster the argument that selected mice can provide a useful model of human psychological and physiological diseases and disorders.
Brown, T.M.; Ratcliffe, B.C.
The distinctive trace fossil Chubutolithes gaimanensis n. ichnosp. occurs in Casamayoran (early Eocene) and Colhuehaupian (late Oligocene) alluvial rocks of the Sarmiento Formation in eastern Chubut Province, Argentina. Though known for nearly 70 years, its origin has remained obscure. Examination of new specimens and comparisons with modern analogs demonstrate that specimens of Chubutolithes represent the fossil nests of a mud-dauber (Hymenoptera: Sphecidae). Virtually identical nests are constructed today by mud-daubers in areas as disparate as southern Santa Cruz Province, Argentina, and Nebraska, confirming that quite similar trace fossils can be produced by several different taxa in a higher taxonomic clade. No satisfactory ethological term exists for trace fossils that, like Chubutolithes, were constructed by organisms above, rather than within, a substrate or medium. The new term aedificichnia is proposed. Chubutolithes occurs in alluvial paleosols and is associated with a large terrestrial ichnofauna. These trace fossils include the nests of scarab beetles, compound nests of social insects, and burrows of earthworms. -Authors
Liu, Xudong; Zhang, Yuchao; Li, Jinquan; Wang, Dong; Wu, Yang; Li, Yan; Lu, Zhisong; Yu, Samuel C T; Li, Rui; Yang, Xu
Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) have shown increasing promise in the field of biomedicine, especially in applications related to the nervous system. However, there are limited studies available on the neurotoxicity of SWCNTs used in vivo. In this study, neurobehavioral changes caused by SWCNTs in mice and oxidative stress were investigated. The results of ethological analysis (Morris water maze and open-field test), brain histopathological examination, and assessments of oxidative stress (reactive oxygen species [ROS], malondialdehyde [MDA], and glutathione [GSH]), inflammation (nuclear factor κB, tumor necrosis factor α, interleukin-1β), and apoptosis (cysteine-aspartic acid protease 3) in brains showed that 6.25 and 12.50 mg/kg/day SWCNTs in mice could induce cognitive deficits and decreased locomotor activity, brain histopathological alterations, and increased levels of oxidative stress, inflammation, and apoptosis in mouse brains; however, 3.125 mg/kg/day SWCNTs had zero or minor adverse effects in mice, and these effects were blocked by concurrent administration of ascorbic acid. Down-regulation of oxidative stress, inflammation, and apoptosis were proposed to explain the neuroprotective effects of ascorbic acid. This work suggests SWCNTs could induce cognitive deficits and decreased locomotor activity, and provides a strategy to avoid the adverse effects.
Animats-autonomous robots or simulations of animals-and the animat approach represent the most recent attempt to comprehend the capacity of animals for autonomous generation of adaptive, intelligent behavior in complex, changing environments. Motivated by perceived limitations in classical artificial intelligence (AI), the animat approach promulgates an alternative, bottom-up route to understanding intelligent behavior. Important tenets include: (1) that adaptive behavior is best understood by focusing on the interaction between a behaving individual and its environment, hence the interest in `embodied' physical robots `situated' in natural environments; (2) that specific abilities, `behaviors', are more natural units of analysis and design than general, information-processing functions and world models; and (3) that high-level behaviors will emerge as systems composed of simple behavioral competences become more complex. Thus, animat research often begins with low-level sensorimotor abilities and then moves up towards higher, cognitive functions. Both in analysis and in design, the animat approach borrows heavily from ethology, psychology, neurobiology and evolutionary biology, as well as from connectionism. For AI and robotics researchers, understanding the mechanisms behind adaptive behavior is secondary to creating them, but natural scientists can hope for tools and concepts to aid understanding of biological systems.
In this report, I review recent molecular studies dealing with the origin and evolution of polar bears (Ursus maritimus), with special emphasis on their relationships with brown bears (U. arctos). On the basis of mitochondrial and nuclear data, different hypotheses have been proposed, including rapid morphological differentiation of U. maritimus, genetic introgression from U. arctos into U. maritimus, or inversely from U. maritimus into U. arctos, involving either male- or female-mediated gene flow. In the light of available molecular and eco-ethological data, I suggest, firstly, that all divergences among major clades of large bears can be linked to glacial periods, secondly, that polar bears diverged from brown bears before 530 thousand years ago (ka), during one of the three glacial marine isotope stages (MIS) 14, 15.2 or 16, and, thirdly, that genetic introgression had occurred from female polar bears into brown bear populations during at least two glacial periods, at 340 ± 10 ka (MIS 10) in western Europe, and at 155 ± 5 ka (MIS 6) on the ABC islands of southeastern Alaska, and probably also in Beringia and Ireland based on ancient DNA sequences.
Maino, James L.; Kearney, Michael R.
A key strength of the DEB approach, in contrast to other metabolic theories, is that its foundational principles are general to all of life. Other theories have attempted to explain patterns in metabolism in terms of taxon-specific processes, such as the geometry of vascular network supply constraints [1,2], or heat dissipation requirements of endotherms , but DEB theory presents constraints on metabolic processes that apply to a wide range of taxa, including bacteria, invertebrates, birds, or mammals . The price of this generalisability is abstraction, but there is much to gain from a general and unifying metabolic theory. Abstracting individuals into simple energy processors would seem to overlook many other important aspects of their biology, such as their unique phylogeny, physiology, or ethology, but this strategy has facilitated great advances in one of the grand challenges in biology: making sense of interacting phenomena occurring across wide scales in space, time, and organisational complexity. The study of cells, individuals, communities and ecosystems have benefited from such a regime [5,6]. Similarly, the simple abstraction of partitioning individual organisms into compartments of reserve biomass and structural biomass allows one to account for an astounding variety of energetic transformations that occur between species and as an organism develops.
Denker, Annette; Bethani, Ioanna; Kröhnert, Katharina; Körber, Christoph; Horstmann, Heinz; Wilhelm, Benjamin G.; Barysch, Sina V.; Kuner, Thomas; Neher, Erwin; Rizzoli, Silvio O.
Chemical synapses contain substantial numbers of neurotransmitter-filled synaptic vesicles, ranging from approximately 100 to many thousands. The vesicles fuse with the plasma membrane to release neurotransmitter and are subsequently reformed and recycled. Stimulation of synapses in vitro generally causes the majority of the synaptic vesicles to release neurotransmitter, leading to the assumption that synapses contain numerous vesicles to sustain transmission during high activity. We tested this assumption by an approach we termed cellular ethology, monitoring vesicle function in behaving animals (10 animal models, nematodes to mammals). Using FM dye photooxidation, pHluorin imaging, and HRP uptake we found that only approximately 1–5% of the vesicles recycled over several hours, in both CNS synapses and neuromuscular junctions. These vesicles recycle repeatedly, intermixing slowly (over hours) with the reserve vesicles. The latter can eventually release when recycling is inhibited in vivo but do not seem to participate under normal activity. Vesicle recycling increased only to ≈5% in animals subjected to an extreme stress situation (frog predation on locusts). Synapsin, a molecule binding both vesicles and the cytoskeleton, may be a marker for the reserve vesicles: the proportion of vesicles recycling in vivo increased to 30% in synapsin-null Drosophila. We conclude that synapses do not require numerous reserve vesicles to sustain neurotransmitter release and thus may use them for other purposes, examined in the accompanying paper. PMID:21903928
Guiraudie-Capraz, Gaëlle; Slomianny, Marie-Christine; Pageat, Patrick; Malosse, Christian; Cain, Anne-Hélène; Orgeur, Pierre; Nagnan-Le Meillour, Patricia
Recognition of the mother is of major importance for the survival of mammalian neonates. This recognition is based, immediately after birth, on the detection of odours that have been learned by the fetus in utero. If the ethological basis of a transnatal olfactory continuity is well established, little is known on the nature of its olfactory cues, and nothing about the presence of potential carrier proteins in the maternal fluids such as amniotic fluid, colostrum and milk. We have identified the components of the pig putative maternal pheromone in these fluids of the sow. We also used a ligand-oriented approach to functionally characterize carrier proteins for these compounds in the maternal fluids. Six proteins were identified, using binding assay, immunodetection and peptide mapping by mass spectrometry. These proteins are known to transport hydrophobic ligands in biological fluids. Among them, alpha-1 acid glycoprotein (AGP) and odorant-binding protein (OBP) have been described in the oral sphere of piglets as being involved in the detection of pig putative maternal pheromone components. These are the first chemical and biochemical data supporting a transnatal olfactory continuity between the fetal and the postnatal environments.
Mwaffo, Violet; Butail, Sachit; Porfiri, Maurizio
Zebrafish is fast becoming a species of choice in biomedical research for the investigation of functional and dysfunctional processes coupled with their genetic and pharmacological modulation. As with mammals, experimentation with zebrafish constitutes a complicated ethical issue that calls for the exploration of alternative testing methods to reduce the number of subjects, refine experimental designs, and replace live animals. Inspired by the demonstrated advantages of computational studies in other life science domains, we establish an authentic data-driven modelling framework to simulate zebrafish swimming in three dimensions. The model encapsulates burst-and-coast swimming style, speed modulation, and wall interaction, laying the foundations for in-silico experiments of zebrafish behaviour. Through computational studies, we demonstrate the ability of the model to replicate common ethological observables such as speed and spatial preference, and anticipate experimental observations on the correlation between tank dimensions on zebrafish behaviour. Reaching to other experimental paradigms, our framework is expected to contribute to a reduction in animal use and suffering.
Cattaneo, C; Maderna, E; Rendinelli, A; Gibelli, D
In the third millennium where ethical, ethological and cultural evolution seem to be leading more and more towards an inter-species society, the issue of animal experimentation is a moral dilemma. Speaking from a self-interested human perspective, avoiding all animal testing where human disease and therapy are concerned may be very difficult or even impossible; such testing may not be so easily justifiable when suffering-or killing-of non human animals is inflicted for forensic research. In order to verify how forensic scientists are evolving in this ethical issue, we undertook a systematic review of the current literature. We investigated the frequency of animal experimentation in forensic studies in the past 15 years and trends in publication in the main forensic science journals. Types of species, lesions inflicted, manner of sedation or anesthesia and euthanasia were examined in a total of 404 articles reviewed, among which 279 (69.1%) concerned studies involving animals sacrificed exclusively for the sake of the experiment. Killing still frequently includes painful methods such as blunt trauma, electrocution, mechanical asphyxia, hypothermia, and even exsanguination; of all these animals, apparently only 60.8% were anesthetized. The most recent call for a severe reduction if not a total halt to the use of animals in forensic sciences was made by Bernard Knight in 1992. In fact the principle of reduction and replacement, frequently respected in clinical research, must be considered the basis for forensic science research needing animals.
Gluck, John P
Since 1985, the US Animal Welfare Act and Public Health Service policy have required that researchers using nonhuman primates in biomedical and behavioral research develop a plan "for a physical environment adequate to promote the psychological well-being of primates." In pursuing this charge, housing attributes such as social companionship, opportunities to express species-typical behavior, suitable space for expanded locomotor activity, and nonstressful relationships with laboratory personnel are dimensions that have dominated the discussion. Regulators were careful not to direct a specific set of prescriptions (i.e., engineering standards) for the attainment of these goals, but to leave the design of the programs substantially up to "professional judgment" at the local level. Recently, however, the Institute of Medicine, in its path-finding 2011 report on the necessity of chimpanzee use in research, bypassed this flexible and contingent concept, and instead, required as a central precondition that chimpanzees be housed in "ethologically appropriate" environments. In so doing, obligations of ethical treatment of one great ape species were elevated above the needs of some research. The evolution and significance of this change are discussed.
Fisher, Clark; Freiwald, Winrich A
Facial motion transmits rich and ethologically vital information, but how the brain interprets this complex signal is poorly understood. Facial form is analyzed by anatomically distinct face patches in the macaque brain, and facial motion activates these patches and surrounding areas. Yet, it is not known whether facial motion is processed by its own distinct and specialized neural machinery, and if so, what that machinery's organization might be. To address these questions, we used fMRI to monitor the brain activity of macaque monkeys while they viewed low- and high-level motion and form stimuli. We found that, beyond classical motion areas and the known face patch system, moving faces recruited a heretofore unrecognized face patch. Although all face patches displayed distinctive selectivity for face motion over object motion, only two face patches preferred naturally moving faces, while three others preferred randomized, rapidly varying sequences of facial form. This functional divide was anatomically specific, segregating dorsal from ventral face patches, thereby revealing a new organizational principle of the macaque face-processing system.
Fisher, Clark; Freiwald, Winrich A.
SUMMARY Facial motion transmits rich and ethologically vital information [1, 2], but how the brain interprets this complex signal is poorly understood. Facial form is analyzed by anatomically distinct face patches in the macaque brain [3, 4], and facial motion activates these patches and surrounding areas [5, 6]. Yet it is not known whether facial motion is processed by its own distinct and specialized neural machinery, and if so, what that machinery’s organization might be. To address these questions, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to monitor the brain activity of macaque monkeys while they viewed low- and high-level motion and form stimuli. We found that, beyond classical motion areas and the known face patch system, moving faces recruited a heretofore-unrecognized face patch. Although all face patches displayed distinctive selectivity for face motion over object motion, only two face patches preferred naturally moving faces, while three others preferred randomized, rapidly varying sequences of facial form. This functional divide was anatomically specific, segregating dorsal from ventral face patches, thereby revealing a new organizational principle of the macaque face-processing system. PMID:25578903
Elie, Julie E; Theunissen, Frédéric E
Understanding how the brain extracts the behavioral meaning carried by specific vocalization types that can be emitted by various vocalizers and in different conditions is a central question in auditory research. This semantic categorization is a fundamental process required for acoustic communication and presupposes discriminative and invariance properties of the auditory system for conspecific vocalizations. Songbirds have been used extensively to study vocal learning, but the communicative function of all their vocalizations and their neural representation has yet to be examined. In our research, we first generated a library containing almost the entire zebra finch vocal repertoire and organized communication calls along 9 different categories based on their behavioral meaning. We then investigated the neural representations of these semantic categories in the primary and secondary auditory areas of 6 anesthetized zebra finches. To analyze how single units encode these call categories, we described neural responses in terms of their discrimination, selectivity and invariance properties. Quantitative measures for these neural properties were obtained using an optimal decoder based both on spike counts and spike patterns. Information theoretic metrics show that almost half of the single units encode semantic information. Neurons achieve higher discrimination of these semantic categories by being more selective and more invariant. These results demonstrate that computations necessary for semantic categorization of meaningful vocalizations are already present in the auditory cortex and emphasize the value of a neuro-ethological approach to understand vocal communication. PMID:25728175
Stivers, Tanya; Enfield, N. J.; Brown, Penelope; Englert, Christina; Hayashi, Makoto; Heinemann, Trine; Hoymann, Gertie; Rossano, Federico; de Ruiter, Jan Peter; Yoon, Kyung-Eun; Levinson, Stephen C.
Informal verbal interaction is the core matrix for human social life. A mechanism for coordinating this basic mode of interaction is a system of turn-taking that regulates who is to speak and when. Yet relatively little is known about how this system varies across cultures. The anthropological literature reports significant cultural differences in the timing of turn-taking in ordinary conversation. We test these claims and show that in fact there are striking universals in the underlying pattern of response latency in conversation. Using a worldwide sample of 10 languages drawn from traditional indigenous communities to major world languages, we show that all of the languages tested provide clear evidence for a general avoidance of overlapping talk and a minimization of silence between conversational turns. In addition, all of the languages show the same factors explaining within-language variation in speed of response. We do, however, find differences across the languages in the average gap between turns, within a range of 250 ms from the cross-language mean. We believe that a natural sensitivity to these tempo differences leads to a subjective perception of dramatic or even fundamental differences as offered in ethnographic reports of conversational style. Our empirical evidence suggests robust human universals in this domain, where local variations are quantitative only, pointing to a single shared infrastructure for language use with likely ethological foundations. PMID:19553212
Smith, Adam S.; Wang, Zuoxin
Social relationships are a fundamental aspect of life, affecting social, psychological, physiological, and behavioral functions. While social interactions can attenuate stress and promote health, disruption, confrontations, isolation, or neglect in the social environment can each be major stressors. Social stress can impair the basal function and stress-induced activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, impairing function of multiple biological systems and posing a risk to mental and physical health. In contrast, social support can ameliorate stress-induced physiological and immunological deficits, reducing the risk of subsequent psychological distress and improving an individual's overall well-being. For better clinical treatment of these physiological and mental pathologies, it is necessary to understand the regulatory mechanisms of stress-induced pathologies as well as determine the underlying biological mechanisms that regulate social buffering of the stress system. A number of ethologically relevant animal models of social stress and species that form strong adult social bonds have been utilized to study the etiology, treatment, and prevention of stress-related disorders. While undoubtedly a number of biological pathways contribute to the social buffering of the stress response, the convergence of evidence denotes the regulatory effects of oxytocin in facilitating social bond-promoting behaviors and their effect on the stress response. Thus, oxytocin may be perceived as a common regulatory element of the social environment, stress response, and stress-induced risks on mental and physical health. PMID:22178036
Begall, Sabine; Cerveny, Jaroslav; Neef, Julia; Vojtech, Oldrich; Burda, Hynek
We demonstrate by means of simple, noninvasive methods (analysis of satellite images, field observations, and measuring "deer beds" in snow) that domestic cattle (n = 8,510 in 308 pastures) across the globe, and grazing and resting red and roe deer (n = 2,974 at 241 localities), align their body axes in roughly a north-south direction. Direct observations of roe deer revealed that animals orient their heads northward when grazing or resting. Amazingly, this ubiquitous phenomenon does not seem to have been noticed by herdsmen, ranchers, or hunters. Because wind and light conditions could be excluded as a common denominator determining the body axis orientation, magnetic alignment is the most parsimonious explanation. To test the hypothesis that cattle orient their body axes along the field lines of the Earth's magnetic field, we analyzed the body orientation of cattle from localities with high magnetic declination. Here, magnetic north was a better predictor than geographic north. This study reveals the magnetic alignment in large mammals based on statistically sufficient sample sizes. Our findings open horizons for the study of magnetoreception in general and are of potential significance for applied ethology (husbandry, animal welfare). They challenge neuroscientists and biophysics to explain the proximate mechanisms.
Van Dyck, Hans
There is a growing recognition for the significance of evolutionary thinking in ecology and conservation biology. However, ecology and conservation studies often work with species-specific, fixed traits that ignore intraspecific variation. The way the habitat of a species is considered is an example of typological thinking biased by human perception. Structural habitat units (e.g., land cover types) as perceived by humans may not represent functional habitat units for other organisms. Human activity may also interfere with the environmental information used by organisms. Therefore, the Umwelt-concept from ethology needs to be integrated in the way we think about habitat and habitat selection. It states that different organisms live in different perceptual worlds dealing with specific subsamples of the environment as a result of their evolutionary and developmental history. The resource-based habitat concept is a functional habitat model based on resource distributions (consumables and conditions) and individual movements. This behavioural approach takes into account aspects that relate to the perceptual world of organisms. This approach may offer new opportunities for conservation and may help avoid failures with habitat restoration. Perceptual ability may be subject to adaptive change, but it may also constrain organisms from showing adaptive behaviours in rapidly changing environments. PMID:25568037
Watson, K. K.; Li, D.; Brent, L. J. N.; Horvath, J. E.; Gonzalez-Martinez, J.; Lambides, Ruiz- A.; Robinson, A. G.; Skene, J. H. P; Platt, M. L.
An ethological approach to attention predicts that organisms orient preferentially to valuable sources of information in the environment. For many gregarious species, orienting to other individuals provides valuable social information but competes with food acquisition, water consumption and predator avoidance. Individual variation in vigilance behaviour in humans spans a continuum from inattentive to pathological levels of interest in others. To assess the comparative biology of this behavioural variation, we probed vigilance rates in free-ranging macaques during water drinking, a behaviour incompatible with the gaze and postural demands of vigilance. Males were significantly more vigilant than females. Moreover, vigilance showed a clear genetic component, with an estimated heritability of 12%. Monkeys carrying a relatively infrequent ‘long’ allele of TPH2, a regulatory gene that influences serotonin production in the brain, were significantly less vigilant compared to monkeys that did not carry the allele. These findings resonate with the hypothesis that the serotonin pathway regulates vigilance in primates and by extension provoke the idea that individual variation in vigilance and its underlying biology may be adaptive rather than pathological. PMID:26034313
Fagot, Joël; Marzouki, Yousri; Huguet, Pascal; Gullstrand, Julie; Claidière, Nicolas
Fagot & Paleressompoulle(1) and Fagot & Bonte(2) have published an automated learning device (ALDM) for the study of cognitive abilities of monkeys maintained in semi-free ranging conditions. Data accumulated during the last five years have consistently demonstrated the efficiency of this protocol to investigate individual/physical cognition in monkeys, and have further shown that this procedure reduces stress level during animal testing(3). This paper demonstrates that networks of ALDM can also be used to investigate different facets of social cognition and in-group expressed behaviors in monkeys, and describes three illustrative protocols developed for that purpose. The first study demonstrates how ethological assessments of social behavior and computerized assessments of cognitive performance could be integrated to investigate the effects of socially exhibited moods on the cognitive performance of individuals. The second study shows that batteries of ALDM running in parallel can provide unique information on the influence of the presence of others on task performance. Finally, the last study shows that networks of ALDM test units can also be used to study issues related to social transmission and cultural evolution. Combined together, these three studies demonstrate clearly that ALDM testing is a highly promising experimental tool for bridging the gap in the animal literature between research on individual cognition and research on social cognition.
McGrew, W. C.
Modelling the behaviour of extinct hominins is essential in order to devise useful hypotheses of our species' evolutionary origins for testing in the palaeontological and archaeological records. One approach is to model the last common ancestor (LCA) of living apes and humans, based on current ethological and ecological knowledge of our closest living relations. Such referential modelling is based on rigorous, ongoing field studies of the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) and the bonobo (Pan paniscus). This paper reviews recent findings from nature, focusing on those with direct implications for hominin evolution, e.g. apes, using elementary technology to access basic resources such as food and water, or sheltering in caves or bathing as thermoregulatory adaptations. I give preference to studies that directly address key issues, such as whether stone artefacts are detectible before the Oldowan, based on the percussive technology of hammer and anvil use by living apes. Detailed comparative studies of chimpanzees living in varied habitats, from rainforest to savannah, reveal that some behavioural patterns are universal (e.g. shelter construction), while others show marked (e.g. extractive foraging) or nuanced (e.g. courtship) cross-populational variation. These findings allow us to distinguish between retained, primitive traits of the LCA versus derived ones in the human lineage. PMID:20855301
Fischer, Christophe Y; Vanderplanck, Maryse; Lognay, Georges C; Detrain, Claire; Verheggen, François J
The aphid-ant mutualistic relationships are not necessarily obligate for neither partners but evidence is that such interactions provide them strong advantages in terms of global fitness. While it is largely assumed that ants actively search for their mutualistic partners namely using volatile cues; whether winged aphids (i.e., aphids' most mobile form) are able to select ant-frequented areas had not been investigated so far. Ant-frequented sites would indeed offer several advantages for these aphids including a lower predation pressure through ant presence and enhanced chances of establishing mutuaslistic interactions with neighbor ant colonies. In the field, aphid colonies are often observed in higher densities around ant nests, which is probably linked to a better survival ensured by ants' services. Nevertheless, this could also result from a preferential establishment of winged aphids in ant-frequented areas. We tested this last hypothesis through different ethological assays and show that the facultative myrmecophilous black bean aphid, Aphis fabae L., does not orientate its search for a host plant preferentially toward ant-frequented plants. However, our results suggest that ants reduce the number of winged aphids leaving the newly colonized plant. Thus, ants involved in facultative myrmecophilous interactions with aphids appear to contribute to structure aphid populations in the field by ensuring a better establishment and survival of newly established colonies rather than by inducing a deliberate plant selection by aphid partners based on the proximity of ant colonies.
Imanishi's "mental" (cerebral) view of speciation is presented, in Mizuhata's revision. The key concept here is the "ethological partition" of the species. Members of each species=society (etho-species) share the same mental (brain) software, irrespective of their genetic structure. Cerebral animals perform active programmed selection, not to be confused with passive, non-programmed "natural selection" as in Neo-Darwinism. The program includes mating-choice of peculiar characters, distinct from the Neo-Darwinian sexual selection supposed due to the specific choosy genes. Speciation can occur, as a "partition of species=society", with bifurcation of mate-choosing program in the parent species. A main promoter for this bifurcation is species-specific "passion" for especially significant characters: long necks, ornamental antlers, ocelli feathers, bright nuptial colors etc. The cichlids in Lake Victoria achieved explosive speciation, while retaining their genetic homogeneity completely. Therefore it is illogical to attribute this divergence to extraordinary mutations in "action controlling genes". The origin of species=society (etho-species) can trace along to the Cambrian Period.
Woolley, S C; Kao, M H
Many motor behaviors, from walking to speaking, are acquired through experience, in particular, through trial-and-error learning. The acquisition and maintenance of such motor behaviors in a wide range of species, including humans, appear to depend on cortical-basal ganglia circuits. In this review, we discuss recent studies in songbirds that have been pivotal in informing our current understanding of motor learning and cortical-basal ganglia function. Songbirds are important ethological model systems for the study of motor learning because young songbirds naturally develop and refine their songs through trial-and-error learning. In addition, reinforcement mechanisms are hypothesized to be important for the maintenance and plasticity of structured adult song. Computational and experimental studies highlight the importance of vocal motor variability as the substrate upon which reinforcement mechanisms could operate to shape developing song and to maintain adult song. Recent studies in songbirds indicate that this vocal motor variability is actively generated and modulated by a highly specialized cortical-basal ganglia circuit evolved for a single behavior, song. We argue that these and other recent findings illustrate how the tight association between a specialized neural circuit and a natural behavior make songbirds a unique and powerful model in which to investigate the neural substrates of motor learning and plasticity.
Favia, G; Louis, C
The Afrotropical malaria vectors Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto and An. arabiensis, responsible for more than 3/4 of the world Plasmodium falciparum inoculations, are members of the Anopheles gambiae complex, a group consisting of six sibling species. The nominal species (An. gambiae s.s.) is by far the most anthropophilic vector and its adaptation to man and his environment involves further ongoing speciation processes. This fact is shown by the existence of a number of incipient taxonomic units characterised by different chromosomal arrangements derived from the presence of polymorphic paracentric inversions. This speciation process is centered in West Africa, where five so-called 'chromosomal forms' have been described, designated with a non-Linnean nomenclature: Forest, Bissau, Savanna, Bamako, and Mopti. Studies on the distribution and the ecology of these incipient species have highlighted specific adaptations to eco-ethological parameters, which might reflect on their relative efficiency as malaria vectors. Cytogenetic analysis, in spite of some inherent difficulties, has proved to be a powerful tool for the identification of An. gambiae sibling species and the individual chromosomal forms. Yet, modern molecular tools are now available, providing alternative faster low-cost technologies, and we discuss here their relative merits.
Williamson, Cait M; Lee, Won; Romeo, Russell D; Curley, James P
The associations between social status and endogenous testosterone and corticosterone have been well-studied across taxa, including rodents. Dominant social status is typically associated with higher levels of circulating testosterone and lower levels of circulating corticosterone but findings are mixed and depend upon numerous contextual factors. Here, we determine that the social environment is a key modulator of these relationships in Mus musculus. In groups of outbred CD-1 mice living in stable dominance hierarchies, we found no evidence of simple linear associations between social rank and corticosterone or testosterone plasma levels. However, in social hierarchies with highly despotic alpha males that socially suppress other group members, testosterone levels in subordinate males were significantly lower than in alpha males. In less despotic hierarchies, where all animals engage in high rates of competitive interactions, subordinate males had significantly elevated testosterone compared to agonistically inhibited subordinates from despotic hierarchies. Subordinate males from highly despotic hierarchies also had elevated levels of corticosterone compared to alpha males. In pair-housed animals, the relationship was the opposite, with alpha males exhibiting elevated levels of corticosterone compared to subordinate males. Notably, subordinate males living in social hierarchies had significantly higher levels of plasma corticosterone than pair-housed subordinate males, suggesting that living in a large group is a more socially stressful experience for less dominant individuals. Our findings demonstrate the importance of considering social context when analyzing physiological data related to social behavior and using ethologically relevant behavioral paradigms to study the complex relationship between hormones and social behavior.
Søndergaard, L V; Dagnæs-Hansen, F; Herskin, M S
In recent years, increasing interest in using the pig (Sus scrofa) for biomedical research has become evident. Today, the pig is considered an advantageous alternative animal model for various human diseases and conditions. However, even though a considerable amount of biomedical research has been done on pigs, hardly any studies include systematic welfare assessment. Still, it is essential to assess welfare of laboratory pigs, both domestic pig breeds and smaller purpose-bred breeds, as (1) scientific obligations entail responsibility to ensure and document a fair welfare standard for animals used for experimental purposes; and (2) the scientific outcome can be dependent upon the welfare state of the animals. In order to be able to quantify and control laboratory pig welfare, a practical tool is needed. The purpose of the present paper is to provide an overview of the current status of the extent of welfare assessment in pigs used in biomedical research and to suggest a welfare assessment standard for research facilities based on an exposition of ethological considerations relevant for the welfare of pigs in biomedical research. The tools for porcine welfare assessment presented suggest a method for monitoring the welfare status of individual laboratory pigs, intended to relieve the practical scoring of the welfare of individual pigs as well as the interpretation of the findings.
Watson, W P; Robinson, E; Little, H J
The effects of the anticonvulsant, gabapentin, were investigated, in mice, on the withdrawal convulsive behaviour and anxiety-related behaviour that are produced by cessation of prolonged intake of ethanol. When given at 50 or 100 mg/kg, this compound decreased the rise in handling-induced hyperexcitability which occurs during the withdrawal period; the effects were most pronounced for the first 4 hr after administration. Gabapentin also decreased the convulsive response to an audiogenic stimulus during the withdrawal period. The elevated plus-maze, with both traditional and ethological indices of activity was used as a test of anxiety-related behaviour after cessation of chronic ethanol treatment. Gabapentin, at 50 and 100 mg/kg, was found to decrease some, although not all, of the signs of withdrawal-induced anxiety. At doses up to and including 200 mg/kg, gabapentin had no effect on motor co-ordination or spontaneous locomotor activity in control animals. The results demonstrated that gabapentin has a selective action in decreasing both convulsive and anxiety-related aspects of withdrawal behaviour after chronic ethanol treatment. It is possible that further studies with this compound may shed further light on the mechanisms involved in the withdrawal syndrome.
St-Cyr, Sophie; McGowan, Patrick O
Perinatal stress mediated through the mother can lead to long-term alterations in stress-related phenotypes in offspring. The capacity for adaptation to adversity in early life depends in part on the life history of the animal. This study was designed to examine the behavioral and neural response in adult offspring to prenatal exposure to predator odor: an ethologically-relevant psychological stressor. Pregnant mice were exposed daily to predator odors or distilled water control over the second half of the pregnancy. Predator odor exposure lead to a transient decrease in maternal care in the mothers. As adults, the offspring of predator odor-exposed mothers showed increased anti-predator behavior, a predator-odor induced decrease in activity and, in female offspring, an increased corticosterone (CORT) response to predator odor exposure. We found a highly specific response among stress-related genes within limbic brain regions. Transcript abundance of Corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor 1 (CRHR1) was elevated in the amygdala in adult female offspring of predator odor-exposed mothers. In the hippocampus of adult female offspring, decreased Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) transcript abundance was correlated with a site-specific decrease in DNA methylation in Bdnf exon IV, indicating the potential contribution of this epigenetic mechanism to maternal programming by maternal predator odor exposure. These data indicate that maternal predator odor exposure alone is sufficient to induce an altered stress-related phenotype in adulthood, with implications for anti-predator behavior in offspring.
Van Meir, Vincent; Boumans, Tiny; De Groof, Geert; Van Audekerke, Johan; Smolders, Alain; Scheunders, Paul; Sijbers, Jan; Verhoye, Marleen; Balthazart, Jacques; Van der Linden, Annemie
Auditory fMRI in humans has recently received increasing attention from cognitive neuroscientists as a tool to understand mental processing of learned acoustic sequences and analyzing speech recognition and development of musical skills. The present study introduces this tool in a well-documented animal model for vocal learning, the songbird, and provides fundamental insight in the main technical issues associated with auditory fMRI in these songbirds. Stimulation protocols with various listening tasks lead to appropriate activation of successive relays in the songbirds' auditory pathway. The elicited BOLD response is also region and stimulus specific, and its temporal aspects provide accurate measures of the changes in brain physiology induced by the acoustic stimuli. Extensive repetition of an identical stimulus does not lead to habituation of the response in the primary or secondary telencephalic auditory regions of anesthetized subjects. The BOLD signal intensity changes during a stimulation and subsequent rest period have a very specific time course which shows a remarkable resemblance to auditory evoked BOLD responses commonly observed in human subjects. This observation indicates that auditory fMRI in the songbird may establish a link between auditory related neuro-imaging studies done in humans and the large body of neuro-ethological research on song learning and neuro-plasticity performed in songbirds.
Espejo, E F; Mir, D
Animals were assigned to two groups: weekly stimulated (WS, n = 30) and daily stimulated (DS, n = 30). Three hot plate tests (55.0 +/- 0.5 degree C, 45 s exposure time) were carried out for each rat. Behavior was videotaped and analyzed by a 14-pattern ethogram and a software package. A cluster analysis revealed that naive rats mainly displayed: i) exploratory patterns (walk-sniff, immobile-sniff), ii) primary noxious-evoked elements (forepaw licking, hindpaw licking, stamping), iii) escape responses (learning posture, jumping), and iv) hindleg withdrawal, an independent noxious-evoked element. The main behavioral changes over time were: i) exploratory behavior was habituated in both groups, ii) sensitization of primary noxious-evoked elements was observed only in the WS group, iii) escape elements were enhanced in both groups, although to less extent in the DS group, and iv) hindleg withdrawal was enhanced in both groups. Furthermore, in the WS group, the nociceptive threshold was significantly decreased, and cluster analysis indicated reliable changes over time. Results suggest that a sensitization phenomenon came about when rats were tested weekly, but was minimized by using the daily testing schedule. This study indicated that an ethological analysis is useful to categorize the rat's patterns in the hot plate test, as well as to follow the gradual changes in responses when repeated measures are used.
McGreevy, Paul D
The lengthy association of humans with horses has established traditional equestrian techniques that have served military and transport needs well. Although effective, these techniques have by-passed the research findings of modern psychologists, who developed the fundamentals of learning theory. That said, the pools of equestrian debate are far from stagnant. The latest wave of horse whisperers has offered some refinements and some novel interpretations of the motivation of horses undergoing training. Additionally, the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) has introduced the concept of the 'happy equine athlete' and, in the light of the hyperflexion (Rollkür) debate, recently examined the possible effects of some novel dressage modalities on equine 'happiness'. However, many still question the welfare of the ridden horse since it is largely trained using negative reinforcement, has to respond to pressure-based signals and is seldom asked to work for positive rewards. Science holds tremendous promise for removing emotiveness from the horse-riding welfare debate by establishing how much rein tension is too much; how much contact is neutral; how contact can be measured; how discomfort can be measured; how pain can be measured; and how learned helplessness manifests in horses. These are some of the topics addressed by equitation science, an emerging discipline that combines learning theory, physics and ethology to examine the salience and efficacy of horse-training techniques.
Van Strien, Jan W.; Isbell, Lynne A.
Studies of event-related potentials in humans have established larger early posterior negativity (EPN) in response to pictures depicting snakes than to pictures depicting other creatures. Ethological research has recently shown that macaques and wild vervet monkeys respond strongly to partially exposed snake models and scale patterns on the snake skin. Here, we examined whether snake skin patterns and partially exposed snakes elicit a larger EPN in humans. In Task 1, we employed pictures with close-ups of snake skins, lizard skins, and bird plumage. In task 2, we employed pictures of partially exposed snakes, lizards, and birds. Participants watched a random rapid serial visual presentation of these pictures. The EPN was scored as the mean activity (225–300 ms after picture onset) at occipital and parieto-occipital electrodes. Consistent with previous studies, and with the Snake Detection Theory, the EPN was significantly larger for snake skin pictures than for lizard skin and bird plumage pictures, and for lizard skin pictures than for bird plumage pictures. Likewise, the EPN was larger for partially exposed snakes than for partially exposed lizards and birds. The results suggest that the EPN snake effect is partly driven by snake skin scale patterns which are otherwise rare in nature. PMID:28387376
Vargas, A.; Biggins, D.; Miller, B.
de esta especie de un modo más eficaz y rentable. Black-footed ferrets are considered one of the world's most endangered mammals. The last wild population was discovered in 1981 in Meteetsee, Wyoming, and, in 1985 it collapsed due to an epizootic of canine distemper in combination with sylvatic plague. Prior to the extinction of the last remnant population, 18 wild black-footed ferrets were captured to initiate captive propagation efforts. Captive breeding has been successful and, during the last 11 years, more than 2600 black-footed ferrets have been born in captive breeding centers. Since 1991, approximately 870 ferrets have been reintroduced in 5 areas located within the ferret's original geographic distribution, including sites in Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, and Arizona. Scientific research has been, and continues to be, a critical tool to direct recovery efforts. Studies in applied ethology conducted on captive and reintroduced ferret populations have demonstrated that a naturalistic captive environment, particularly during early developmental periods, enhances the expression of behaviors necessary for survival in nature. Ferrets raised in a naturalistic environment develop better predatory skills, are able to recognize prairie dog burrows as a home and shelter from predators, and are more physically fit. Results from these studies have been adapted into management strategies to help implement a more cost-effective road to black-footed ferret recovery.
Casarrubea, Maurizio; Sorbera, Filippina; Crescimanno, Giuseppe
The aim of the present paper is to study by means of a multivariate analysis the modifications induced by an environmental acoustic cue on the structure of rat exploratory behavior. Adult male Wistar rats were observed during the exploration of a soundproof observation box. Each rat was acoustically stimulated after 150 s from the beginning of the experimental session, lasting 300 s, and recorded through a digital videocamera. A frame by frame analysis was thereafter carried out using a professional video-recording system. Thirteen behavioral patterns were selected: immobility, immobile-sniffing, walking, rearing, climbing, chewing, paw-licking, face-grooming, body-grooming, head-turning, tuning, oriented-sniffing, focusing. Both descriptive and multivariate analyses (cluster, stochastic, adjusted residuals) were carried out. Through descriptive statistical analysis, latencies and per cent distribution of each pattern were studied. A multivariate cluster analysis revealed the presence of three main behavioral clusters, an additional one being identified following acoustic stimulation. Multivariate stochastic analysis showed that all the patterns converged on immobile-sniffing which could represent a key component in behavioral switching processes related to environmental exploration. Moreover, through adjusted residuals, the degree of relationship among different patterns was shown according to statistic Z-distribution. Our data assign new ethological meanings to different behavioral patterns. Notably, head-turning is suggested to be considered as a generic directional search and tuning as a subtle activity of stimulus localization.
Ventouras, E.-C.; Lardi, I.; Dimitriou, S.; Margariti, A.; Chondraki, P.; Kalatzis, I.; Economou, N.-T.; Tsekou, H.; Paparrigopoulos, T.; Ktonas, P. Y.
Primitive expression (PE) is a form of dance therapy (DT) that involves an interaction of ethologically and socially based forms which are supplied for re-enactment. Brain connectivity has been measured in electroencephalographic (EEG) data of patients with schizophrenia undergoing PE DT, using the correlation coefficient and mutual information. These parameters do not measure the existence or absence of directionality in the connectivity. The present study investigates the use of the G-autonomy measure of EEG electrode voltages of the same group of schizophrenic patients. G-autonomy is a measure of the “autonomy” of a system. It indicates the degree by which prediction of the system's future evolution is enhanced by taking into account its own past states, in comparison to predictions based on past states of a set of external variables. In the present research, “own” past states refer to voltage values in the time series recorded at a specific electrode and “external” variables refer to the voltage values recorded at other electrodes. Indication is provided for an acute effect of early-stage PE DT expressed by the augmentation of G-autonomy in the delta rhythm and an acute effect of late- stage PE DT expressed by the reduction of G-autonomy in the theta and alpha rhythms.
Andrienko, Natalia; Andrienko, Gennady; Barrett, Louise; Dostie, Marcus; Henzi, Peter
We suggest a methodology for analyzing movement behaviors of individuals moving in a group. Group movement is analyzed at two levels of granularity: the group as a whole and the individuals it comprises. For analyzing the relative positions and movements of the individuals with respect to the rest of the group, we apply space transformation, in which the trajectories of the individuals are converted from geographical space to an abstract 'group space'. The group space reference system is defined by both the position of the group center, which is taken as the coordinate origin, and the direction of the group's movement. Based on the individuals' positions mapped onto the group space, we can compare the behaviors of different individuals, determine their roles and/or ranks within the groups, and, possibly, understand how group movement is organized. The utility of the methodology has been evaluated by applying it to a set of real data concerning movements of wild social animals and discussing the results with experts in animal ethology.
Rind, F. Claire; Wernitznig, Stefan; Pölt, Peter; Zankel, Armin; Gütl, Daniel; Sztarker, Julieta; Leitinger, Gerd
In locusts, two lobula giant movement detector neurons (LGMDs) act as looming object detectors. Their reproducible responses to looming and their ethological significance makes them models for single neuron computation. But there is no comprehensive picture of the neurons that connect directly to each LGMD. We used high-through-put serial block-face scanning-electron-microscopy to reconstruct the network of input-synapses onto the LGMDs over spatial scales ranging from single synapses and small circuits, up to dendritic branches and total excitatory input. Reconstructions reveal that many trans-medullary-afferents (TmAs) connect the eye with each LGMD, one TmA per facet per LGMD. But when a TmA synapses with an LGMD it also connects laterally with another TmA. These inter-TmA synapses are always reciprocal. Total excitatory input to the LGMD 1 and 2 comes from 131,000 and 186,000 synapses reaching densities of 3.1 and 2.6 synapses per μm2 respectively. We explored the computational consequences of reciprocal synapses between each TmA and 6 others from neighbouring columns. Since any lateral interactions between LGMD inputs have always been inhibitory we may assume these reciprocal lateral connections are most likely inhibitory. Such reciprocal inhibitory synapses increased the LGMD’s selectivity for looming over passing objects, particularly at the beginning of object approach. PMID:27774991
Smulders, Tom Victor
Spatial memory and the hippocampal formation (HF) of food-hoarding birds have been put forward as a prime example of how natural selection has shaped a cognitive system and its neural underpinnings. Here, I review what we know about the HF of hoarding birds and lay out the work that is currently underway to use this system to obtain a better understanding of hippocampal function in general. This interdisciplinary programme includes evolutionary, ecological, psychological, ethological, and neuroscientific approaches to the study of behaviour and cognition. Firstly, we need to understand the behaviour of the birds in their natural environment, and identify the aspects of cognition and behaviour that may be especially valuable for the species under study. Secondly, these cognitive and behavioural traits are compared to closely-related non-hoarding species. Thirdly, we also compare HF anatomy between closely-related hoarding and non-hoarding species, identifying possible neural mechanisms underlying behavioural differences. Finally, behavioural and neuroscientific approaches are combined in experiments directly investigating the involvement of the HF or any of its anatomical and physiological aspects in the behaviours under study. This process loops back upon itself in many different ways, with all the different approaches informing each other. In this way we are making progress in understanding the functioning of the HF, not only in food-hoarding birds, but in all vertebrates.
Rocchi, Giordana; Serio, Valentina; Carluccio, Giuseppe Mattia; Marini, Isabella; Meuti, Valentina; Zaccagni, Michela; Giacchetti, Nicoletta; Aceti, Franca
Recently, new findings in epigenetic science switched the focus from the observation of physiological intragenomic dynamics to the idea of an environmental co-construction of phenotypic expression. In psichodynamic field, objectual relations and attachement theoreticians emphasized the interpersonal dimension of individual development, focusing the attention on the relational matrix of self organization. The construction of stable affective-behavioral traits throughout different parenting styles has actually found a coincidence in ethological studies, which have explored the epigenetic processes underlying the relationship between caregiving and HPA stress responsiveness. An adequate parenting style seems to support affective regulation throughout psychobiological hidden moderators, which would tend to rebalance the physiological systems homeostasis; an unconfident attachment style would promote, on the other hand, the allostatic load rise. Sites of longlife epigenetic susceptibility have also been identified in humans; although associated with risk of maladaptive developing in adverse environmental conditions, they seem to confer protection under favorable conditions. This persisting possibility of reorganization of stable traits throughout lifetime, which seems to be activated by a relevant environmental input, grant to significant relationships, and to therapeutical one as well, an implicit reconditioning potential which could result into the configuration of new stable affective-behavioral styles.
Webster, Paula J.; Skipper-Kallal, Laura M.; Frum, Chris A.; Still, Hayley N.; Ward, B. Douglas; Lewis, James W.
A major gap in our understanding of natural sound processing is knowledge of where or how in a cortical hierarchy differential processing leads to categorical perception at a semantic level. Here, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) we sought to determine if and where cortical pathways in humans might diverge for processing action sounds vs. vocalizations as distinct acoustic-semantic categories of real-world sound when matched for duration and intensity. This was tested by using relatively less semantically complex natural sounds produced by non-conspecific animals rather than humans. Our results revealed a striking double-dissociation of activated networks bilaterally. This included a previously well described pathway preferential for processing vocalization signals directed laterally from functionally defined primary auditory cortices to the anterior superior temporal gyri, and a less well-described pathway preferential for processing animal action sounds directed medially to the posterior insulae. We additionally found that some of these regions and associated cortical networks showed parametric sensitivity to high-order quantifiable acoustic signal attributes and/or to perceptual features of the natural stimuli, such as the degree of perceived recognition or intentional understanding. Overall, these results supported a neurobiological theoretical framework for how the mammalian brain may be fundamentally organized to process acoustically and acoustic-semantically distinct categories of ethologically valid, real-world sounds. PMID:28111538
Laplagne, Diego A.; Elías Costa, Martín
Acoustic signals have the potential for transmitting information fast across distances. Rats emit ultrasonic vocalizations of two distinct classes: “22-kHz” or “alarm” calls and “50-kHz” calls. The latter comprises brief sounds in the 30–80-kHz range, whose ethological role is not fully understood. We recorded ultrasonic vocalizations from pairs of rats freely behaving in neighboring but separated arenas. 50-kHz vocalizations in this condition were tightly linked to the locomotion of the emitter at the subsecond time scale, their rate sharply increasing and decreasing prior to the onset and offset of movement respectively. This locomotion-linked vocalization behavior showed a clear “audience effect,” as rats recorded alone displayed lower vocal production than rats in social settings for equivalent speeds of locomotion. Furthermore, calls from different categories across the 50 and 22-kHz families displayed markedly different correlations with locomotor activity. Our results show that rat vocalizations in the high ultrasonic range are social signals carrying spatial information about the emitter and highlight the possibility that they may play a role in the social coordination of spatial behaviors. PMID:27746726
The first domestication of the dog occurred in East Asia, and major ancestor of the dog was a wolf subspecies, Canis lupus chanco. This finding derives from data on the nucleotide sequences of mtDNA and the frequency of genes controlling blood protein polymorphisms in various subspecies of wolves and dog breeds around the world. The results of the allele frequency distribution of genes controlling 16 blood protein polymorphisms, and the incidence of dogs possessing erythrocytes with high potassium (HK) in Japan, East Asia and Europe allowed us to posturate the following hypothesis about the origins of Japanese dogs and the history of their development. In the Jomon period the first dogs entered the Japanese archipelago from southern or northern continental Asia. These dogs eventually spread throughout Japan. Then, during the Yayoi and Kofun periods, other dogs were brought over via the Korean Peninsula, and crossbreeding occurred with the original dogs. The resulted offspring can be assumed to be the ancestors of most of the Japanese breeds that exist today. Ethological studies have revealed a significant breed difference in behavioral traits among canine breeds with Japanese dogs, showing more aggressive dispositions than most of European dogs. PMID:25792769
Lux, Slawomir A; Wnuk, Andrzej; Vogt, Heidrun; Belien, Tim; Spornberger, Andreas; Studnicki, Marcin
The paper reports application of a Markov-like stochastic process agent-based model and a "virtual farm" concept for enhancement of site-specific Integrated Pest Management. Conceptually, the model represents a "bottom-up ethological" approach and emulates behavior of the "primary IPM actors"-large cohorts of individual insects-within seasonally changing mosaics of spatiotemporally complex faming landscape, under the challenge of the local IPM actions. Algorithms of the proprietary PESTonFARM model were adjusted to reflect behavior and ecology of R. cerasi. Model parametrization was based on compiled published information about R. cerasi and the results of auxiliary on-farm experiments. The experiments were conducted on sweet cherry farms located in Austria, Germany, and Belgium. For each farm, a customized model-module was prepared, reflecting its spatiotemporal features. Historical data about pest monitoring, IPM treatments and fruit infestation were used to specify the model assumptions and calibrate it further. Finally, for each of the farms, virtual IPM experiments were simulated and the model-generated results were compared with the results of the real experiments conducted on the same farms. Implications of the findings for broader applicability of the model and the "virtual farm" approach-were discussed.
Banda-Villanueva, Iris; Contreras-Lozano, Jorge; Garcia-Salas, Juan; González-Páez, Hugo
The Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) is a migratory endangered species that arrives, along with a great number of other winter migratory birds, to Boca Ciega every year. In spite of the importance of this ecosystem, these species, are threatened by the current habitat change caused by the dredging activities in the area. With the aim to generate new information about the importance of this area during winter, we studied C melodus activities during the winter season in Laguna Madre, from December 2009 to March 2010. Our objectives were: 1) determine the importance of the area during winter, 2) describe C. melodus ethology, feeding substrate preferences and food items, 3) to analyze and describe the sympatric diversity associated with C melodus. A total of ninety nine individuals were observed during the monitoring. The Cochran and Kendall test showed a high significance of the species with the substrate and signs tests using a binomial distribution that indicated a high preference for algal type of substrate. The highest activity recorded for this species during this winter season was feeding. The principal food items found in sediments were larvae of Diptera: Chironomidae and Ephydridae. The sympatric species of C. melodus were two families of Charadriiforms: Scolopacidae (nine species) and Charadriidae (two species). We concluded that this is an important area for feeding, protection and rest sites for this species, and its protection and management is recommended.
Duschinsky, Robbie; Greco, Monica; Solomon, Judith
Research on attachment is widely regarded in sociology and feminist scholarship as politically conservative - oriented by a concern to police families, pathologize mothers and emphasize psychological at the expense of socio-economic factors. These critiques have presented attachment theory as constructing biological imperatives to naturalize contingent, social demands. We propose that a more effective critique of the politically conservative uses of attachment theory is offered by engaging with the 'attachment system' at the level of ontology. In developing this argument we draw on Deleuze and Guattari, making use of the common language of ethology which links their ideas to that of attachment theory. The attachment system can and has been reified into an image of the infant returning to their caregiver as an image of familial sufficiency. This has offered ammunition for discourses and institutions which isolate women from health, social and political resources. Yet Deleuze and Guattari can help attachment theory and research to be recognized as a powerful ally for progressive politics, for reflection on the movement of human individuation, and for arguing for the meaningful resourcing of those who care for someone else.
Emes, Richard D; Goodstadt, Leo; Winter, Eitan E; Ponting, Chris P
The extensive similarities between the genomes of human and model organisms are the foundation of much of modern biology, with model organism experimentation permitting valuable insights into biological function and the aetiology of human disease. In contrast, differences among genomes have received less attention. Yet these can be expected to govern the physiological and morphological distinctions apparent among species, especially if such differences are the result of evolutionary adaptation. A recent comparison of the draft sequences of mouse and human genomes has shed light on the selective forces that have predominated in their recent evolutionary histories. In particular, mouse-specific clusters of homologues associated with roles in reproduction, immunity and host defence appear to be under diversifying positive selective pressure, as indicated by high ratios of non-synonymous to synonymous substitution rates. These clusters are also frequently punctuated by homologous pseudogenes. They thus have experienced numerous gene death, as well as gene birth, events. These regions appear, therefore, to have borne the brunt of adaptive evolution that underlies physiological and behavioural innovation in mice. We predict that the availability of numerous animal genomes will give rise to a new field of genome zoology in which differences in animal physiology and ethology are illuminated by the study of genomic sequence variations.
Starling, Melissa; McLean, Andrew; McGreevy, Paul
Simple Summary Equitation science describes an approach to horse training and riding that focuses on embracing the cognitive abilities of horses, their natural behaviour, and how human riders can use signalling and rewards to best effect. This approach is concerned with both horse welfare and rider safety, and this review discusses how equitation science can minimise risk to humans around horses and enhance horse welfare. Abstract Equitation science is an evidence-based approach to horse training and riding that focuses on a thorough understanding of both equine ethology and learning theory. This combination leads to more effective horse training, but also plays a role in keeping horse riders and trainers safe around horses. Equitation science underpins ethical equitation, and recognises the limits of the horse’s cognitive and physical abilities. Equitation is an ancient practice that has benefited from a rich tradition that sees it flourishing in contemporary sporting pursuits. Despite its history, horse-riding is an activity for which neither horses nor humans evolved, and it brings with it significant risks to the safety of both species. This review outlines the reasons horses may behave in ways that endanger humans and how training choices can exacerbate this. It then discusses the recently introduced 10 Principles of Equitation Science and explains how following these principles can minimise horse-related risk to humans and enhance horse welfare. PMID:26907354
Parra-H, Alejandro; Nates-Parra, Guiomar
Orchid bees subsist in vast tropical forest areas because they maintain close relationships with particular plant species in diverse micro-habitats. Based on the relationships among the environment and biological features (food preference, morphologic and ethologic diversity), it is possible to determine habitat quality using the euglossine array. This work proposes the use of this ecological information, in addition to diversity indices, for the evaluation of environmental quality. Fifteen localities in three landscape types (urban, rural and conserved) were sampled in the eastern llanos foothill (Meta, Colombia), between March and December of 2003 using entomological nets, and Cineol and Metil Salicylate as baits. Of the 26 species known to occur in the area, 17 were registered. Eulaema nigrita was the most frequent, while E. speciosa E. bombiformis, Euglossa magnipes, E. cybelia, E. heterosticta, E. singularis and Exaerete frontalis were mostly found in habitats rated "good to acceptable". The vegetation composition and proximity of forest fragments seem to favor some species in disturbed habitats. Relative diversity of bee body shapes and sizes is proportional to habitat quality.
Lang, Carolin; Seifert, Karlheinz; Dettner, Konrad
Rove beetles of the genus Stenus Latreille and the genus Dianous Leach possess pygidial glands containing a multifunctional secretion of piperidine and pyridine-derived alkaloids as well as several terpenes. One important character of this secretion is the spreading potential of its different compounds, stenusine, norstenusine, 3-(2-methyl-1-butenyl)pyridine, cicindeloine, α-pinene, 1,8-cineole and 6-methyl-5-heptene-2-one. The individual secretion composition enables the beetles to skim rapidly and far over the water surface, even when just a small amount of secretion is emitted. Ethological investigations of several Stenus species revealed that the skimming ability, skimming velocity and the skimming behaviour differ between the Stenus species. These differences can be linked to varied habitat claims and secretion saving mechanisms. By means of tensiometer measurements using the pendant drop method, the spreading pressure of all secretion constituents as well as some naturally identical beetle secretions on the water surface could be established. The compound 3-(2-methyl-1-butenyl)pyridine excelled stenusine believed to date to be mainly responsible for skimming relating to its surface activity. The naturally identical secretions are not subject to synergistic effects of the single compounds concerning the spreading potential. Furthermore, evolutionary aspects of the Steninae's pygidial gland secretion are discussed.
Takahashi, A; Nishi, A; Ishii, A; Shiroishi, T; Koide, T
Consomic strains have recently attracted attention as an advantageous method to screen for genes related to developmental, physiological, and behavioral phenotypes. Recently, a new set of consomic strains was established from the Japanese wild-derived mouse strain MSM/Ms and C57BL/6JJcl. By analyzing the entire consomic panel, we were able to identify a number of chromosomes associated with anxiety-like behaviors in the open-field (OF) test, a light–dark box and an elevated plus maze. Detailed observation of the OF behavior allowed us to identify chromosomes associated with those ethological traits, such as stretch attend, rearing, and jumping. Repeated OF test trials have different meanings for animals, and we found that some chromosomes responded to only the first or second trial, while others were consistent across both trials. By examining both male and female mice, sex-dependent effects were found in several measurements. Principal component analysis of anxiety-like behaviors extracted five factors: ‘general locomotor activity’, ‘thigmotaxis’, ‘risk assessment’, ‘open-arm exploration’ and ‘autonomic emotionality’. We mapped chromosomes associated with these five factors of emotionality. PMID:18616609
Pogány, A; Heszberger, J; Szurovecz, Zita; Vincze, E; Székely, T
Automated behavioural observations are routinely used in many fields of biology, including ethology, behavioural ecology and physiology. When preferences for certain resources are investigated, the focus is often on simple response variables, such as duration and frequency of visits to choice chambers. Here we present an automated motion detector system that use passive infrared sensors to eliminate many drawbacks of currently existing methods. Signals from the sensors are processed by a custom-built interface, and after unnecessary data is filtered by a computer software, the total time and frequency of the subject's visits to each of the choice chambers are calculated. We validate the detector system by monitoring (using the system) and in the same time video recording mating preferences of zebra finches in a four-way choice apparatus. Manual scoring of the video recordings showed very high consistency with data from the detector system both for time and for frequency of visits. Furthermore, the validation revealed that if we used micro-switches or light barriers, the most commonly applied automatic detection techniques, this would have resulted in approximately 22% less information compared to our lossless system. The system provides a low-cost alternative for monitoring animal movements, and we discuss its further applicability.
Watson, M.J.; Spendelow, J.A.; Hatch, J.J.
Extended post-fledging parental care is an important aspect of parental care in birds, although little studied due to logistic difficulties. Commonly, the brood is split physically (brood division) and/or preferential care is given to a subset of the brood by one parent or the other (care division). Among gulls and tern (Laridae), males and females generally share parental activities during the pre-fledging period, but the allocation of parental care after fledging is little documented. This study examined the behaviour of male and female roseate terns (Sterna dougallii) during the late chick-rearing and early post-fledging periods, and in particular the amount of feeds and the time spent in attendance given to individual chicks/fledglings. Pre-fledging parental care was biparental in all cases. Post-fledging parental care was dependent on the number of fledglings in the brood. Males and females continued biparental care in clutches with one surviving fledgling, while in two-fledgling clutches, males fed the A-fledgling while females fed the B-fledgling. Overall, there was no difference in attendance, only in feeds. This division of care may be influenced by the male only being certain of the paternity of the A-chick but not by chick sex. ?? 2011 Japan Ethological Society and Springer.
Burrell, Brian D
The inability to adequately treat chronic pain is a worldwide health care crisis. Pain has both an emotional and a sensory component, and this latter component, nociception, refers specifically to the detection of damaging or potentially damaging stimuli. Nociception represents a critical interaction between an animal and its environment and exhibits considerable evolutionary conservation across species. Using comparative approaches to understand the basic biology of nociception could promote the development of novel therapeutic strategies to treat pain, and studies of nociception in invertebrates can provide especially useful insights toward this goal. Both vertebrates and invertebrates exhibit segregated sensory pathways for nociceptive and nonnociceptive information, injury-induced sensitization to nociceptive and nonnociceptive stimuli, and even similar antinociceptive modulatory processes. In a number of invertebrate species, the central nervous system is understood in considerable detail, and it is often possible to record from and/or manipulate single identifiable neurons through either molecular genetic or physiological approaches. Invertebrates also provide an opportunity to study nociception in an ethologically relevant context that can provide novel insights into the nature of how injury-inducing stimuli produce persistent changes in behavior. Despite these advantages, invertebrates have been underutilized in nociception research. In this review, findings from invertebrate nociception studies are summarized, and proposals for how research using invertebrates can address questions about the fundamental mechanisms of nociception are presented.
Using a recent environmental controversy on the U.S. east coast over the conservation of red knots (Calidris canutus rufa) as a lens, I present a history of North American efforts to understand and conserve migratory shorebirds. Focusing on a few signal pieces of American legislation and their associated bureaucracies, I show the ways in which migratory wildlife have been thoroughly enrolled in efforts to quantify and protect their populations. Interactions between wildlife biologists and endangered species have been described by some scholars as "domestication"-a level of surveillance and intervention into nonhuman nature that constitutes a form of dependence. I pause to reflect on this historical trajectory, pointing out the breaks and continuities with older forms of natural history. Using the oft-mobilized Foucauldian metaphor of the panopticon as a foil, I question the utility and ethics of too-easily declaring "domesticated" wildlife an act of "biopower." Instead, I argue that Jacob von Uexküll's "umwelt" from early ecology and ethology, and more contemporary Science and Technology Studies (STS) analyses emphasizing multiple ontologies, offer more illuminating accounts of endangered species science. Neither science, conservation, nor history are well-served by the conflation of wildlife "surveillance" with the language of Foucauldian discipline.
Ghezzo, Elena; Palchetti, Alessandro; Rook, Lorenzo
Equi Terme is a hamlet located in northern Tuscany, in Apuan Alps regional Park. An outstanding fossil vertebrate collection housed in Florence is the result of excavations in the Equi cave and shelter during the period 1911-1919. This faunal assemblage (associated with Mousterian artefacts) may be correlated with the middle of MIS 3. All of the specimens recovered at Equi early in the last century were collected with attention to their stratigraphical positions. Detailed field annotation for nearly every specimen allowed us to organize them and attempt a stratigraphical and spatial reconstruction of the fossiliferous deposits. We present the results of the study of the spatial and stratigraphic distribution of the carnivoran species in the Equi cave and shelter, and re-evaluate the taphonomic agents of accumulation and the fossil distribution within the stratigraphic record. In particular, we evaluated the distribution of Panthera pardus, which, unusually for Europe, is abundant in the Equi cave assemblage. This analysis highlights the importance of the re-evaluation of historical collections and allows for future comparisons with data from more recent excavations at the Equi site. The analysis also provides an account of the distribution of carnivorans throughout the stratigraphic record. The constant presence and the predominance of leopards and wolves over lions and smaller carnivorans, allow for evaluations of their ethology and may be related to a short period of sediment accumulation.
Burrows, Kristen E; Adams, Cindy L; Spiers, Jude
Children with autism might display unpredictable and volatile behavior that places them in considerable physical danger and creates stress for the family. Families of autistic children often have limited freedom and experience difficulty with everyday activities. In this qualitative ethology study, we examined the effect of integrating service dogs into ten families with an autistic child. Data included participant observation, video recordings of family-parent-dog interaction, and semistructured interviews with the parents. The themes were (a) the dog as a sentinel of safety, (b) gaining freedom through enhanced safety, facilitating public outings and family activities, and (c) improving social recognition and status, in which the presence of the dog promoted awareness of autism and affected social interaction. The triadic relationship between parent, autistic child, and service dog constantly evolves. This research provides valuable information for parents interested in having a service dog for their autistic child, and has implications for long-term human-animal companionship for children with special needs and their caregivers.
Beyond continuation of currently active areas, some less studied ones are selected for predictions of marked advance. (1) Most discoveries will be in cellular components and molecular mechanisms for different classes of receptor or central pathways. (2) More major taxa, possibly birds, reptiles or invertebrates, will be found to have electroreceptive species representing independent evolutionary 'inventions'. (3) Electric organs with weak and episodic electric discharges will be found in new taxa; first, among siluriforms. (4) New examples are to be expected, such as lampreys, where synchronized muscle action potentials sum to voltages in the range of weakly electric fish. Some of these will look like intermediates in the evolution of electric organs. (5) Ethological significance will be found for a variety of known physiological features; e.g. uranoscopids, skates and weakly electric catfish with episodic electric discharges; electroreceptive ability of animals such as lampreys, chimaeras, lungfish, sturgeons, paddlefish and salamanders with Lorenzinian-type ampullae; gymnotiform and mormyrid detection of the capacitative component of impedance. (6) The organization of some higher functions in the cerebellum and forebrain will gradually come to light.
Hascup, Kevin N; Hascup, Erin R
Alterations in neurotransmission have been implicated in numerous neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders, including Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, epilepsy, and schizophrenia. Unfortunately, few techniques support the measurement of real-time changes in neurotransmitter levels over multiple days, as is essential for ethologic and pharmacodynamic testing. Microdialysis is commonly used for these research paradigms, but its poor temporal and spatial resolution make this technique inadequate for measuring the rapid dynamics (milliseconds to seconds) of fast signaling neurotransmitters, such as glutamate and acetylcholine. Enzymatic microelectrode arrays (biosensors) coupled with electrochemical recording techniques have demonstrated fast temporal resolution (less than 1 s), excellent spatial resolution (micron-scale), low detection limits (≤200 nM), and minimal damage (50 to 100 μm) to surrounding brain tissue. Here we discuss the benefits, methods, and animal welfare considerations of using platinum microelectrodes on a ceramic substrate for enzyme-based electrochemical recording techniques for real-time in vivo neurotransmitter recordings in both anesthetized and awake, freely moving rodents.
Razzoli, Maria; Carboni, Lucia; Andreoli, Michela; Ballottari, Alice; Arban, Roberto
Social stress may precipitate psychopathological disorders in susceptible individuals. The present experiments were focused on the biology beyond the differential susceptibility to social stress. Social defeat, an ethologically relevant stressor known to elicit different coping strategies, was used in two mouse strains differing for baseline emotionality, such as C57BL6/J and BalbC. In separate experiments, in both strains a single social defeat decreased home-cage activity without altering social aversion; it diminished body weight only in defeated BalbC mice. In longitudinal experiments, mice experienced repeated social defeats that induced multiple long-term consequences. Defeated C57BL6/J increased their body weight and food intake; defeated BalbC mice diminished their metabolic efficiency. Only defeated BalbC subjects exhibited increased social avoidance levels; no differences from controls were seen on forced swim test response in defeated mice of either strain. No long-term effects of social defeat were detected in peripheral biomarkers of stress, metabolic, and immune responses, although the analysis of selected internal organs revealed decreases in abdominal fat and gonadal organs in all defeated subjects. These results demonstrated a strain-distinctive profile in the susceptibility to social defeat stress, either acutely or chronically, with metabolic consequences more consistently found in C57BL6/J while social aversion induced predominantly in BalbC subjects.
Beltran, D; Cavas, M; Navarro, J F
sigma-1 Receptors have been identified in numerous brain regions, including areas such as hypothalamus and amygdala, which have long been linked to the regulation of aggression. However, there is no clear information with respect to the possible effects of sigma-1 ligands on aggressive behavior in laboratory animals. Consequently, the present study examined the effects of (+)SKF 10047 (0.5-6 mg/kg, i.p.), a sigma-1 prototypical agonist, on isolation-induced aggression in male mice, using an ethopharmacological approach. Individually housed mice were exposed to anosmic "standard opponents" 30 min after drug administration. Ten minutes of diadic interactions were staged between a singly housed and an anosmic mouse in a neutral area. The encounters were videotaped, and the accumulated time allocated by subjects to 10 broad behavioral categories was estimated using an ethologically based analysis. Results showed that (+)SKF 10047 (6 mg/kg) produced a significant reduction of offensive behaviors, without affecting immobility. Social investigation behaviors were also slightly increased after drug treatment (2-6 mg/kg). These results suggest a role for sigma-1 receptors in aggression modulation in mice.
Portelli, G; Serres, J; Ruffier, F; Franceschini, N
In view of the behavioral findings published on bees during the last two decades, it was proposed to decipher the principles underlying bees' autopilot system, focusing in particular on these insects' use of the optic flow (OF). Based on computer-simulated experiments, we developed a vision-based autopilot that enables a "simulated bee" to travel along a tunnel, controlling both its speed and its clearance from the right wall, left wall, ground, and roof. The flying agent thus equipped enjoys three translational degrees of freedom on the surge (x), sway (y), and heave (z) axes, which are uncoupled. This visuo-motor control system, which is called ALIS (AutopiLot using an Insect based vision System), is a dual OF regulator consisting of two interdependent feedback loops, each of which has its own OF set-point. The experiments presented here showed that the simulated bee was able to navigate safely along a straight or tapered tunnel and to react appropriately to any untoward OF perturbations, such as those resulting from the occasional lack of texture on one wall or the tapering of the tunnel. The minimalistic visual system used here (involving only eight pixels) suffices to jointly control both the clearance from the four walls and the forward speed, without having to measure any speeds or distances. The OF sensors and the simple visuo-motor control system we have developed account well for the results of ethological studies performed on honeybees flying freely along straight and tapered corridors.
Clark, Camilla N; Downey, Laura E; Warren, Jason D
Despite its evident universality and high social value, the ultimate biological role of music and its connection to brain disorders remain poorly understood. Recent findings from basic neuroscience have shed fresh light on these old problems. New insights provided by clinical neuroscience concerning the effects of brain disorders promise to be particularly valuable in uncovering the underlying cognitive and neural architecture of music and for assessing candidate accounts of the biological role of music. Here we advance a new model of the biological role of music in human evolution and the link to brain disorders, drawing on diverse lines of evidence derived from comparative ethology, cognitive neuropsychology and neuroimaging studies in the normal and the disordered brain. We propose that music evolved from the call signals of our hominid ancestors as a means mentally to rehearse and predict potentially costly, affectively laden social routines in surrogate, coded, low-cost form: essentially, a mechanism for transforming emotional mental states efficiently and adaptively into social signals. This biological role of music has its legacy today in the disordered processing of music and mental states that characterizes certain developmental and acquired clinical syndromes of brain network disintegration.
Cao, Shi; Zhou, Xue-Hong; Zhang, Wei
Although modern hunting is different from traditional hunting, it remains a controversial topic. A large number of scholars in the world have studied the effects of hunting on wild animals from an ecological, ethological, genetic and economic aspect. This paper reviewed the role of controlled hunting in wildlife production from population dynamics, behavior, genetic and a phenotypic level, and by integrating a large number of domestic and foreign literatures. Many studies have shown that regulated hunting is an efficient approach in managing wildlife populations, which could be beneficial to the recovery and possibly even growth of wildlife populations. Meanwhile, over-exploitation or inappropriate hunting could affect the sex, birth and mortality ratios of wildlife populations, change foraging behavior and socio-spatial behavior and generate artificial selection of their genotype and phenotype. To apply modern hunting properly to wildlife management, China could learn from successful hunting programs implemented in many other countries, which are based on ecological and economic principles to formulate scientifically determined hunting quotas and set up an effective system to regulate and manage the hunting of wildlife populations.
The relationship between 27 different measures of hyperactive, impulsive, and inattentive behavior, including those considered to be more objective and those considered more influenced by social factors, is examined using a normal sample of 219 Mexican children, ages 6 to 12. Measures were based on activity monitoring by accelerometry, ethological observation of attentional and movements states in the classroom, cognitive testing using the TOVA continuous performance test (CPT), and parents' and teachers' reports on ratings scales and symptom checklists. Factor analysis was used to examine to what degree these different measures are reporting similar underlying constructs (factors) of hyperactivity and inattention. Parent and teacher ratings appear to be describing underlying constructs that are distinct from those described by the other measures, but measures based on CPT, observation, and activity monitoring did not factor together either, nor more highly correlate to each other. Analysis combining all the measures showed that parent and teacher ratings factored together based on who was reporting the behavior, rather than the behavior being reported. The findings underscore that each type of measurement of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention measures a different aspect of a complex behavioral phenomenon, rather than some better measuring than others the same underlying factor.
Orlov, V N; Sycheva, V B; Cherepanova, E V; Borisov, Iu M
The contact points of four karyotypic races (St. Petersburg, Moscow, Seliger and West Dvina) of the common shrew Sorex araneus L. were studied at the Valdai Hills (European Russia) in an area unimpeded by geographic barriers. The populations of the races are separated by narrow hybrid zones that represent the most complex heterozygous hybrid karyotypes. At these points of contact, the morphometric differentiation of karyotype races was examined in 12 cranial measurements in 190 shrews of a known karyotype. A. comparison of the mean values in studied samples of immature shrews revealed statistically significant differences and the correlation of some measurements in order to describe the level of musculus temporalis. It has been proposed that morphometric differences in the karyotypic races were preserved and accumulated because of a 50% reduction of the frequencies of hybrids. The deviation from the Hardy-Weinberg ration in the frequencies of the genotype and haploid sets of chromosomes in the hybrid zones can be attributed to a number of fatalities of hybrid embryos or the nonrandom mating of karyotypic races. The ethological isolation might arise in the evolution of some karyotypic races from the reduced fitness of the hybrids.
Aihara, Ikkyu; Takeda, Ryu; Mizumoto, Takeshi; Otsuka, Takuma; Takahashi, Toru; Okuno, Hiroshi G.; Aihara, Kazuyuki
This letter reports synchronization phenomena and mathematical modeling on a frustrated system of living beings, or Japanese tree frogs (Hyla japonica). While an isolated male Japanese tree frog calls nearly periodically, he can hear sounds including calls of other males. Therefore, the spontaneous calling behavior of interacting males can be understood as a system of coupled oscillators. We construct a simple but biologically reasonable model based on the experimental results of two frogs, extend the model to a system of three frogs, and theoretically predict the occurrence of rich synchronization phenomena, such as triphase synchronization and 1:2 antiphase synchronization. In addition, we experimentally verify the theoretical prediction by ethological experiments on the calling behavior of three frogs and time series analysis on recorded sound data. Note that the calling behavior of three male Japanese tree frogs is frustrated because almost perfect antiphase synchronization is robustly observed in a system of two male frogs. Thus, nonlinear dynamics of the three-frogs system should be far from trivial.
Mwaffo, Violet; Butail, Sachit; Porfiri, Maurizio
Zebrafish is fast becoming a species of choice in biomedical research for the investigation of functional and dysfunctional processes coupled with their genetic and pharmacological modulation. As with mammals, experimentation with zebrafish constitutes a complicated ethical issue that calls for the exploration of alternative testing methods to reduce the number of subjects, refine experimental designs, and replace live animals. Inspired by the demonstrated advantages of computational studies in other life science domains, we establish an authentic data-driven modelling framework to simulate zebrafish swimming in three dimensions. The model encapsulates burst-and-coast swimming style, speed modulation, and wall interaction, laying the foundations for in-silico experiments of zebrafish behaviour. Through computational studies, we demonstrate the ability of the model to replicate common ethological observables such as speed and spatial preference, and anticipate experimental observations on the correlation between tank dimensions on zebrafish behaviour. Reaching to other experimental paradigms, our framework is expected to contribute to a reduction in animal use and suffering.
Elie, Julie E; Theunissen, Frédéric E
Understanding how the brain extracts the behavioral meaning carried by specific vocalization types that can be emitted by various vocalizers and in different conditions is a central question in auditory research. This semantic categorization is a fundamental process required for acoustic communication, and presupposes discriminative and invariance properties of the auditory system for conspecific vocalizations. Songbirds have been used extensively to study vocal learning, but the communicative function of all their vocalizations and their neural representation has yet to be examined. In this study, we first generated a library containing almost the entire zebra finch vocal repertoire, and organised communication calls along nine different categories according to their behavioral meaning. We then investigated the neural representations of these semantic categories in the primary and secondary auditory areas of six anesthetised zebra finches. To analyse how single units encode these call categories, we described neural responses in terms of their discrimination, selectivity and invariance properties. Quantitative measures for these neural properties were obtained with an optimal decoder using both spike counts and spike patterns. Information theoretic metrics show that almost half of the single units encode semantic information. Neurons achieve higher discrimination of these semantic categories by being more selective and more invariant. These results demonstrate that computations necessary for semantic categorization of meaningful vocalizations are already present in the auditory cortex, and emphasise the value of a neuro-ethological approach to understand vocal communication.
Anthropomorphic hypotheses can alter previous ethological concepts. Songbirds have been traditionally categorized as open- or close-ended learners. Open-ended learners such as canaries and starlings continue to learn new songs throughout life. Close-ended learners such as song sparrows and zebra finches appear to learn song once and then repeat this song in a stereotyped or crystallized manner for the rest of their lives. Research over the last dozen years or so has produced evidence that whatever is close-ended in songbirds may be more than a little ajar. It is clear that adult song is a highly dynamic and closely monitored act. In these regards, it has a number of cognitive processes similar to human speech. Birds appear to continually monitor their own song, being able to stop in midsong if necessary. They also regulate the song amplitude given environmental and social conditions, and show song perturbations when experiencing delayed auditory feedback. However, so far as is known, close-ended learners cannot learn new song elements from a model, although there are hints to the contrary, including both behavioral and physiological results.
Our understanding of human morality has dramatically improved in the last decades, thanks to efforts carried out with scientific methods, in addition to the traditional speculative approach. Substantial contributions and relevant empirical data have come from neuroscience, psychology, genetics, comparative ethology, anthropology, and the social sciences. In this fruitful synergy, one useful approach is still missing: computational modeling. More precisely, a neurocomputational model aimed at simulating forms of moral behavior, to our knowledge, has not yet been designed. The purpose of this work is to start filling this gap, proposing MOral Neural Engine (MONE), a model that simulates the emergence of moral cognition. The neural engine in this model is assumed to be based in frontal areas, specifically the orbitofrontal and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and in connections to limbic areas involved in emotions and reward, such as the ventral striatum and the amygdala. Moral cognition is probably the result of a collection of several different neural processes, activated depending on the type of moral problem, each associated with a variety of emotions. This model, in its first implementation, deals with only a single moral situation: stealing someone's food, a transgression that typically elicits guilt, learned in the model from the angry facial expressions of the victim.
Marinelli, Lydia; Mayer, Andreas
Argument Animals played an important role in the formation of psychoanalysis as a theoretical and therapeutic enterprise. They are at the core of texts such as Freud's famous case histories of Little Hans, the Rat Man, or the Wolf Man. The infantile anxiety triggered by animals provided the essential link between the psychology of individual neuroses and the ambivalent status of the "totem" animal in so-called primitive societies in Freud's attempt to construct an anthropological basis for the Oedipus complex in Totem and Taboo. In the following, we attempt to track the status of animals as objects of indirect observation as they appear in Freud's classical texts, and in later revisionist accounts such as Otto Rank's Trauma of Birth and Imre Hermann's work on the clinging instinct. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Freudian conception of patients' animal phobias is substantially revised within Hermann's original psychoanalytic theory of instincts which draws heavily upon ethological observations of primates. Although such a reformulation remains grounded in the idea of "archaic" animal models for human development, it allows to a certain extent to empiricize the speculative elements of Freud's later instinct theory (notably the death instinct) and to come to a more embodied account of psychoanalytic practice.
Stepniewska, Iwona; Friedman, Robert M; Gharbawie, Omar A; Cerkevich, Christina M; Roe, Anna W; Kaas, Jon H
The posterior parietal cortex (PPC) of monkeys and prosimian galagos contains a number of subregions where complex, behaviorally meaningful movements, such as reaching, grasping, and body defense, can be evoked by electrical stimulation with long trains of electrical pulses through microelectrodes. Shorter trains of pulses evoke no or simple movements. One possibility for the difference in effectiveness of intracortical microstimulation is that long trains activate much larger regions of the brain. Here, we show that long-train stimulation of PPC does not activate widespread regions of frontal motor and premotor cortex but instead, produces focal, somatotopically appropriate activations of frontal motor and premotor cortex. Shorter stimulation trains activate the same frontal foci but less strongly, showing that longer stimulus trains do not produce less specification. Because the activated sites in frontal cortex correspond to the locations of direct parietal-frontal anatomical connections from the stimulated PPC subregions, the results show the usefulness of optical imaging in conjunction with electrical stimulation in showing functional pathways between nodes in behavior-specific cortical networks. Thus, long-train stimulation is effective in evoking ethologically relevant sequences of movements by activating nodes in a cortical network for a behaviorally relevant period rather than spreading activation in a nonspecific manner.
Karl, Jenni M; Sacrey, Lori-Ann R; Doan, Jon B; Whishaw, Ian Q
Preshaping the digits and orienting the hand when reaching to grasp a distal target is proposed to be optimal when guided by vision. A reach-to-grasp movement to an object in one's own mouth is a natural and commonly used movement, but there has been no previous description of how it is performed. The movement requires accuracy but likely depends upon haptic rather than visual guidance, leading to the question of whether the kinematics of this movement are similar to those with vision or whether the movement depends upon an alternate strategy. The present study used frame-by-frame video analysis and linear kinematics to analyze hand movements as participants reached for ethologically relevant food targets placed either at a distal location or in the mouth. When reaching for small and medium-sized food items (blueberries and donut balls) that had maximal lip-to-target contact, hand preshaping was equivalent to that used for visually guided reaching. When reaching for a large food item (orange slice) that extended beyond the edges of the mouth, hand preshaping was suboptimal compared to vision. Nevertheless, hapsis from the reaching hand was used to reshape and reorient the hand after first contact with the large target. The equally precise guidance of hand preshaping under oral hapsis is discussed in relation to the idea that hand preshaping, and its requisite neural circuitry, may have originated under somatosensory control, with secondary access by vision.
Clark, Camilla N.; Downey, Laura E.
Despite its evident universality and high social value, the ultimate biological role of music and its connection to brain disorders remain poorly understood. Recent findings from basic neuroscience have shed fresh light on these old problems. New insights provided by clinical neuroscience concerning the effects of brain disorders promise to be particularly valuable in uncovering the underlying cognitive and neural architecture of music and for assessing candidate accounts of the biological role of music. Here we advance a new model of the biological role of music in human evolution and the link to brain disorders, drawing on diverse lines of evidence derived from comparative ethology, cognitive neuropsychology and neuroimaging studies in the normal and the disordered brain. We propose that music evolved from the call signals of our hominid ancestors as a means mentally to rehearse and predict potentially costly, affectively laden social routines in surrogate, coded, low-cost form: essentially, a mechanism for transforming emotional mental states efficiently and adaptively into social signals. This biological role of music has its legacy today in the disordered processing of music and mental states that characterizes certain developmental and acquired clinical syndromes of brain network disintegration. PMID:24847111
The "placebo" concept started with Saint Jerome's mistranslation of the first word of the ninth line of Psalm 116: instead of "I will walk before the Lord", he wrote "I will please the Lord" (Placebo Domino instead of ambulabo coram Domino). The placebo story is filled with quiproquos, mistakes and abuses. After many avatars, the placebo notion became firmly linked to medicine, and especially pharmacology. Nowadays, all new treatments are required to have proved their efficacy in randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trials. After a plethora of hypotheses based on psychology, behavorism, ethology, anthropology and sociology, proposing mechanisms of action based on patients' suggestibility and expectations induced by doctors' enthusiasm and beliefs, the past two decades have seen several new findings focusing on pharmacobiological phenomena. Animal studies provide fascinating information on immunological mechanisms and cancer outcomes in conditions of stress and pain. Placebo and nocebo mechanisms are now explained in terms of pain, endorphins, cholecystokinin and dopamine system activation, and possibly inflammation control. PET scans have been used to investigate these effects in depression and Parkinson's disease. A role of genetic mechanisms is also emerging in the field of placebo neurobiology. In fact, the placebo effect might simply result from the medical art. Further studies are needed to maximize the placebo effect and to make it more consistent.
Vegas, Óscar; VanBuskirk, JoAnne; Richardson, Steven; Parfitt, David; Helmreich, Dana; Rempel, Max; Moynihan, Jan; Tausk, Francisco
This study explores the effects of stress and housing conditions on the healing of cutaneous wounds and its relationship with circulating levels of corticosterone. Specifically, we set out to examine the effect of combined physical (restraint stress and ultrasound) and psychological (predator scent) stressors on the cutaneous wound healing of female mice that had been housed either in groups (with social support; n= 16) or individually (without social support; n= 16). In contrast with other studies, the model of multiple ethological mild stressors utilized in this study significantly increased the levels of corticosterone, but failed to dramatically alter the healing of skin wounds. However, the results of this study provide evidence of the importance of housing conditions, suggesting that positive social interactions in females accelerate the rate of wound healing, and reduce levels of anxiety and circulating corticosterone. The level of anxiety, as well as the basal levels of corticosterone, proved to be valid predictors of the healing rates during different stages of cutaneous wound healing.
Newman, Jonathan P; Fong, Ming-fai; Millard, Daniel C; Whitmire, Clarissa J; Stanley, Garrett B; Potter, Steve M
Optogenetic techniques enable precise excitation and inhibition of firing in specified neuronal populations and artifact-free recording of firing activity. Several studies have suggested that optical stimulation provides the precision and dynamic range requisite for closed-loop neuronal control, but no approach yet permits feedback control of neuronal firing. Here we present the ‘optoclamp’, a feedback control technology that provides continuous, real-time adjustments of bidirectional optical stimulation in order to lock spiking activity at specified targets over timescales ranging from seconds to days. We demonstrate how this system can be used to decouple neuronal firing levels from ongoing changes in network excitability due to multi-hour periods of glutamatergic or GABAergic neurotransmission blockade in vitro as well as impinging vibrissal sensory drive in vivo. This technology enables continuous, precise optical control of firing in neuronal populations in order to disentangle causally related variables of circuit activation in a physiologically and ethologically relevant manner. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.07192.001 PMID:26140329
Zhou, CanPing; Wang, JiaBo; Zhang, XueRu; Zhao, YanLing; Xia, XinHua; Zhao, HaiPing; Ren, YongShen; Xiao, XiaoHe
The description and differentiation of the so-called "Cold" and "Hot" natures, the primary "Drug Naure" of Chinese medicine, is the focus of theoretical research. In this study, the divergency between the "Cold" and the "Hot" natures was investigated through examining the temperature tropism of mice affected by Coptis chinensis Franch and its processed materials by using a cold/hot plate differentiating technology. After exposure to C. chinensis Franch, the macroscopic behavioral index of the remaining rate (RR) on a warm pad (40 degrees C) significantly increased (P<0.05), suggesting the enhancement of Hot tropism. The internal indexes of adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase) activity and oxygen consuming volume decreased significantly (P<0.05), suggesting the decapability of energy metabolism. This external behavior of Hot tropism might reflect the internal Cold nature of C. chinensis Franch. However, the processed materials of C. chinensis Franch exhibited a different Cold nature in temperature tropism compared with crude C. chinensis Franch (CC): the Cold nature of bile-processed C. chinensis Franch (BC) enhanced while the ginger-processed C. chinensis Franch (GC) changed inversely. The changing sequence was consistent with the theoretical prognostication. It is indicated that the external Cold & Hot natures of Chinese medicine may possibly reflect in an ethological way for the changes of animal's temperature tropism which might be internally regulated by the body's energy metabolism.
Manzaneque, J M; Navarro, J F
Zuclopenthixol is a thioxanthene derivative which acts as a mixed dopamine D1/D2 receptor antagonist. Although the antiaggressive action of neuroleptic drugs is well known, the effects of zuclopenthixol on agonistic interactions have not been explored and there are no studies comparing acute and subchronic effects of this compound on aggression in rodents. In this work, we examined the action of zuclopenthixol (0.025-0.4 mg/kg), administered acutely or subchronically for 10 days, on agonistic behavior elicited by isolation in male mice. Individually housed mice were exposed to anosmic "standard opponents" 30 min after the drug administration, and encounters were videotaped and evaluated using an ethologically based analysis. After acute treatment, zuclopenthixol (0.2 and 0.4 mg/kg)-treated animals exhibited ethopharmacological profiles characterized by a decrease in offensive behaviors without impairment of motor activity (0.2 mg/kg). In contrast, the antiaggressive action of the highest dose used (0.4 mg/kg) was accompanied by a marked increase of immobility. After subchronic treatment, no tolerance to zuclopenthixol antiaggressive or motor activity was observed. Overall, this behavioral profile is similar to that observed with other typical neuroleptics.
Oleskin, A V
This review deals with the issue of applicability of biosocial concepts and terms to microorganisms. The main emphasis is placed on recent data obtained in studies of bacteria. They demonstrate various forms of collective behavior including affiliation (cohesion), cooperation, coordinated aggression, and avoidance behavior (vis-a-vis "outgroups"). Bacterial systems are also characterized by contact and distant communication; the latter mediated by chemical signals (including pheromones/autoinducers employed by quorum-sensing systems) or physical factors. Bacteria form supracellular systems (colonies, biofilms, flocs, etc.) that can be regarded as bacterial biosocial systems, by analogy to animal congregations. These bacterial biosocial systems are characterized by coherence, life-cycle ("culture ontogeny" in N.D. Yerusalimsky's usage), and hierarchical or network organization. Bacterial cells in biosocial systems are morphologically differentiated and, in a large number of bacterial species, functionally specialized. Cells collectively form structures that function as "organs" of the whole biosocial system (exemplified by water channels, colony-coating membranes, hemoprotein-containing hemosomes, and extracellular matrix as the structural basis of a colony/biofilm). The biosocial approach to microorganisms promotes interactions between microbiology, cytology, and ethology. It is also of practical value for medicine and biotechnology.
Mwaffo, Violet; Butail, Sachit; Porfiri, Maurizio
Zebrafish is fast becoming a species of choice in biomedical research for the investigation of functional and dysfunctional processes coupled with their genetic and pharmacological modulation. As with mammals, experimentation with zebrafish constitutes a complicated ethical issue that calls for the exploration of alternative testing methods to reduce the number of subjects, refine experimental designs, and replace live animals. Inspired by the demonstrated advantages of computational studies in other life science domains, we establish an authentic data-driven modelling framework to simulate zebrafish swimming in three dimensions. The model encapsulates burst-and-coast swimming style, speed modulation, and wall interaction, laying the foundations for in-silico experiments of zebrafish behaviour. Through computational studies, we demonstrate the ability of the model to replicate common ethological observables such as speed and spatial preference, and anticipate experimental observations on the correlation between tank dimensions on zebrafish behaviour. Reaching to other experimental paradigms, our framework is expected to contribute to a reduction in animal use and suffering. PMID:28071731
Yoshida, Wako; Dolan, Ray J.; Friston, Karl J.
This paper introduces a model of ‘theory of mind’, namely, how we represent the intentions and goals of others to optimise our mutual interactions. We draw on ideas from optimum control and game theory to provide a ‘game theory of mind’. First, we consider the representations of goals in terms of value functions that are prescribed by utility or rewards. Critically, the joint value functions and ensuing behaviour are optimised recursively, under the assumption that I represent your value function, your representation of mine, your representation of my representation of yours, and so on ad infinitum. However, if we assume that the degree of recursion is bounded, then players need to estimate the opponent's degree of recursion (i.e., sophistication) to respond optimally. This induces a problem of inferring the opponent's sophistication, given behavioural exchanges. We show it is possible to deduce whether players make inferences about each other and quantify their sophistication on the basis of choices in sequential games. This rests on comparing generative models of choices with, and without, inference. Model comparison is demonstrated using simulated and real data from a ‘stag-hunt’. Finally, we note that exactly the same sophisticated behaviour can be achieved by optimising the utility function itself (through prosocial utility), producing unsophisticated but apparently altruistic agents. This may be relevant ethologically in hierarchal game theory and coevolution. PMID:19112488
Lau, Jenny Y Y; Pang, Chun-Chiu; Ramsden, Lawrence; Saunders, Richard M K
The floral phenology, pollination ecology and breeding systems of two sympatric early-divergent angiosperms, Goniothalamus tapisoides and G. suaveolens (Annonaceae) are compared. The flowers are protogynous and morphologically similar, with anthesis over 23-25 h. Both species are predominantly xenogamous and pollinated by small beetles: G. tapisoides mainly by Curculionidae and G. suaveolens mainly by Nitidulidae. Coevolution and reproductive resource partitioning, reducing interspecific pollen transfer, is achieved by temporal isolation, due to contrasting floral phenologies; and ethological isolation, due to contrasting floral scents that contain attractants specific to the two beetle families. Analysis of floral scents revealed three volatiles (3-methylbutyl acetate, ethyl hexanoate and 2-phenylethanol) that are known to be nitidulid attractants in the floral scent of G. suaveolens, but absent from that of G. tapisoides. An effective pollinator trapping mechanism is demonstrated for both species, representing the first such report for the family. Trapping is achieved by the compression of the outer petals against the apertures between the inner petals. This trapping mechanism is likely to be a key evolutionary innovation for Goniothalamus, increasing pollination efficiency by increasing pollen loading on beetles during the staminate phase, promoting effective interfloral pollinator movements, and increasing seed-set by enabling rapid turn-over of flowers.
Blocker, Tomica D.; Ophir, Alexander G.
Contaminants, like pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins and metals, are persistent and ubiquitous and are known to threaten the environment. Traditionally, scientists have considered the direct physiological risks that these contaminants pose. However, scientists have just begun to integrate ethology and toxicology to investigate the effects that contaminants have on behavior. This review considers the potential for contaminant effects on mating behavior. Here we assess the growing body of research concerning disruptions in sexual differentiation, courtship, sexual receptivity, arousal, and mating. We discuss the implications of these disruptions on conservation efforts and highlight the importance of recognizing the potential for environmental stressors to affect behavioral experimentation. More specifically, we consider the negative implications for anthropogenic contaminants to affect the immediate behavior of animals, and their potential to have cascading and/or long-term effects on the behavioral ecology and evolution of populations. Overall, we aim to raise awareness of the confounding influence that contaminants can have, and promote caution when interpreting results where the potential for cryptic affects are possible. PMID:24244068
Santucci, Daniela; Francia, Nadia; Aloe, Luigi; Enrico, Alleva
The effects of spaceflight on the nervous system physiology could have important implications for the prolonged stay outside Earth's gravitational field. In this view, both ground-based and space research using animal models represent useful tools to investigate the impact of gravity (hypergravity, microgravity and weightlessness) on the nervous system and behaviour. Data coming from these studies, besides acquisition of knowledge relevant for spaceflights and pro-longed permanence of both humans and animals in space, could provide insight into basic bio-logical phenomena underlying the plasticity of the nervous system and its adaptive responses to a changing environment. Most ground experiments employing animal models use the paradigm of hypergravity exposure with the expectation that behavioural and physiological reactions to this environment might help to explain reactions to the microgravity challenge faced by or-biting animals. An overview of ground-based experiments set up to investigate the effects of changes of gravitational environment on the neurobehavioural responses of CD-1 mouse will be reported, and will illustrate the short-, medium-and long-term behavioural and neurobiological consequences of hypergravity exposure both at adulthood and during early and late postnatal development. Moreover, since mother-pup interaction is critical for the survival and the devel-opment of neonatal rodents, especially in an extreme environment such as that of space, we characterized, exploiting ethological methods, changes in maternal behaviour of CD-1 outbred mouse dams exposed to mild hypergravity. The results of these experiments will be discussed.
Halekoh, Ulrich; Jørgensen, Erik; Bak Jensen, Margit; Pedersen, Lene Juul; Studnitz, Merete; Højsgaard, Søren
We considered experiments where animals chose one of all possible simultaneously presented options. The animals might be observed at repeated occasions. In the ethological literature the analysis is often focused on testing the global hypothesis of no difference in preferences by non-parametric methods. This fails to address the estimation of a ranking. Often this approach cannot adequately reflect the experimental setting and the repeated measurement structure. Therefore, we propose to model the choice probabilities for the options with a multinomial logistic model. The correlation induced by repeated measurements is incorporated by animal specific random intercepts. The ranking of the options is taken as the order of the choice probabilities. Adopting a Bayesian approach samples from the posterior distribution of the choice probabilities provide directly samples from the posterior of the rankings. Based on this an estimate of the ranking and description of its variability can be derived. The computation was performed via Markov chain Monte Carlo sampling and was implemented using WinBUGS. We illustrate our approach with an experiment to determine the preference of pigs for three different rooting materials. The proposed method allowed deriving an overall ranking for different combinations of the materials and the spatial positioning.
Davies, Patrick T; Martin, Meredith J
Although children's security in the context of the interparental relationship has been identified as a key explanatory mechanism in pathways between family discord and child psychopathology, little is known about the inner workings of emotional security as a goal system. Thus, the objective of this paper is to describe how our reformulation of emotional security theory within an ethological and evolutionary framework may advance the characterization of the architecture and operation of emotional security and, in the process, cultivate sustainable growing points in developmental psychopathology. The first section of the paper describes how children's security in the interparental relationship is organized around a distinctive behavioral system designed to defend against interpersonal threat. Building on this evolutionary foundation for emotional security, the paper offers an innovative taxonomy for identifying qualitatively different ways children try to preserve their security and its innovative implications for more precisely informing understanding of the mechanisms in pathways between family and developmental precursors and children's trajectories of mental health. In the final section, the paper highlights the potential of the reformulation of emotional security theory to stimulate new generations of research on understanding how children defend against social threats in ecologies beyond the interparental dyad, including both familial and extrafamilial settings.
Monge-Nájera, J; Díaz, L
Citation indices are inappropriate measures of scientific output and impact. For that reason, nonparametric statistics were preferred to analyze 35 years of publication on Tropical biology in the Revista de Biología Tropical. The most frequent subjects are animal taxonomy, human biology-including medicine- ecology and animal behavior. Botany papers are less frequent and mainly deal with morphology and taxonomy. Applied studies are not predominant. In that period, only one case of unethical experimentation with humans was discovered in a paper of Mexican origin. The proportion of foreign institutions publishing in the journal has increased from 23% (1953-1963) to 50% in the last decade; similarly, the number of studies done in the Neotropics is on the rise. English and Spanish are equally frequent, although English is the basic language of ethology and evolution and Spanish predominates in papers on animal morphology and parasitology. Most Costa Rican authors publish in Spanish, in contrast with many of their Latin American colleagues. In recent years, there is a tendency to publish shorter papers written by more than one author. The Revista de Biología Tropical, covered by 18 data bases, accounts for most exchanges and sales in the Universidad de Costa Rica and has worldwide distribution.
Wang, Lan; Qu, Guoqiang; Dong, Xiyuan; Huang, Kai; Kumar, Molly; Ji, Licheng; Wang, Ya; Yao, Junning; Yang, Shulin; Wu, Ruxing; Zhang, Hanwang
Currently, there is an increasing prevalence of adolescent exposure to methamphetamine (MA). However, there is a paucity of information concerning the long-term impact of early exposure to MA upon female fertility and ovarian reserve. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of long-term MA exposure in adolescents on their ovarian reserve in adulthood. Adolescent mice received intraperitoneal injections of MA (5mg/kg, three times per week) or saline from the 21st postnatal day for an 8 week period. Morphological, histological, biochemical, hormonal and ethological parameters were evaluated. An impaired ovarian reserve and vitality was found in the group treated with MA, manifesting in morphological-apparent mitochondrial damage, an activated apoptosis pathway in the ovarian tissue, a downward expression of ovarian anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH), a decreased number of primordial and growing follicles, an increased number of atretic follicles, and a depressed secretion of AMH, estradiol and progesterone from granulosa cells. However, no significant difference was noticed regarding the estrous cycle, the mating ability and the fertility outcome in the reproductive age of the mice after a period of non-medication. The present results confirmed that a long term exposure to methamphetamine in adolescent mice does have an adverse impact on their ovarian reserve, which indicates that such an early abuse of MA might influence the fertility lifespan of the female mouse.
Pongrácz, Péter; Ujvári, Vera; Faragó, Tamás; Miklósi, Ádám; Péter, András
The visual sense of dogs is in many aspects different than that of humans. Unfortunately, authors do not explicitly take into consideration dog-human differences in visual perception when designing their experiments. With an image manipulation program we altered stationary images, according to the present knowledge about dog-vision. Besides the effect of dogs' dichromatic vision, the software shows the effect of the lower visual acuity and brightness discrimination, too. Fifty adult humans were tested with pictures showing a female experimenter pointing, gazing or glancing to the left or right side. Half of the pictures were shown after they were altered to a setting that approximated dog vision. Participants had difficulty to find out the direction of glancing when the pictures were in dog-vision mode. Glances in dog-vision setting were followed less correctly and with a slower response time than other cues. Our results are the first that show the visual performance of humans under circumstances that model how dogs' weaker vision would affect their responses in an ethological experiment. We urge researchers to take into consideration the differences between perceptual abilities of dogs and humans, by developing visual stimuli that fit more appropriately to dogs' visual capabilities.
Enquist, Magnus; Lind, Johan
Behaving efficiently (optimally or near-optimally) is central to animals' adaptation to their environment. Much evolutionary biology assumes, implicitly or explicitly, that optimal behavioural strategies are genetically inherited, yet the behaviour of many animals depends crucially on learning. The question of how learning contributes to optimal behaviour is largely open. Here we propose an associative learning model that can learn optimal behaviour in a wide variety of ecologically relevant circumstances. The model learns through chaining, a term introduced by Skinner to indicate learning of behaviour sequences by linking together shorter sequences or single behaviours. Our model formalizes the concept of conditioned reinforcement (the learning process that underlies chaining) and is closely related to optimization algorithms from machine learning. Our analysis dispels the common belief that associative learning is too limited to produce ‘intelligent’ behaviour such as tool use, social learning, self-control or expectations of the future. Furthermore, the model readily accounts for both instinctual and learned aspects of behaviour, clarifying how genetic evolution and individual learning complement each other, and bridging a long-standing divide between ethology and psychology. We conclude that associative learning, supported by genetic predispositions and including the oft-neglected phenomenon of conditioned reinforcement, may suffice to explain the ontogeny of optimal behaviour in most, if not all, non-human animals. Our results establish associative learning as a more powerful optimizing mechanism than acknowledged by current opinion. PMID:28018662
Chakraborty, Abhijit; Hasiotis, Stephen T.; Ghosh, Bhaskar; Bhattacharya, Harendra Nath
Trace fossils that record animal and plant activity are described for the first time from the Middle Siwalik, Neogene deposits of Darjeeling Himalaya. Sedimentary facies association attests to a channel-interchannel floodplain fluviatile setting. The intimate association of the burrows with phytoliths, rhizoliths, leaf compressions and coal lenses suggest that the tracemakers dominated a floodplain habitat. Point bar deposits host a low diversity Planolites-Naktodemasis-Macanopsis-Cylindricum equilibrium ichnocoenosis in the heterolithic fine sandstone-siltstone-shale facies that alternates with dense, monospecific colonization of Planolites as opportunistic pioneers relocating under stressed condition. Interlayered floodplain deposits in the fluvial successions preserve enigmatic large diameter, vertical tubes within thin to thick-bedded, dark silty shale facies. These tubes bear mixed characters assignable to both crayfish burrows and large-diameter rhizoliths. Further work on these tubes is necessary to make more accurate interpretations of those structures. Shallow to moderate burrow depths; intermittent, short-lived colonization events and preservation of rhizoliths and rhizohalos under fluctuating moisture content indicate short-term fluctuations of a relatively high water table (close to the paleosurface) in an imperfectly drained proximal floodplain setting. Ichnotaxa distribution and their inferred ethology provide significant faunal data that may put constraints on the reconstruction of Middle Siwalik depositional environment.
Kimura, Toshifumi; Ohashi, Mizue; Crailsheim, Karl; Schmickl, Thomas; Okada, Ryuichi; Radspieler, Gerald; Ikeno, Hidetoshi
A computer program that tracks animal behavior, thereby revealing various features and mechanisms of social animals, is a powerful tool in ethological research. Because honeybee colonies are populated by thousands of bees, individuals co-exist in high physical densities and are difficult to track unless specifically tagged, which can affect behavior. In addition, honeybees react to light and recordings must be made under special red-light conditions, which the eyes of bees perceive as darkness. The resulting video images are scarcely distinguishable. We have developed a new algorithm, K-Track, for tracking numerous bees in a flat laboratory arena. Our program implements three main processes: (A) The object (bee's) region is detected by simple threshold processing on gray scale images, (B) Individuals are identified by size, shape and spatiotemporal positional changes, and (C) Centers of mass of identified individuals are connected through all movie frames to yield individual behavioral trajectories. The tracking performance of our software was evaluated on movies of mobile multi-artificial agents and of 16 bees walking around a circular arena. K-Track accurately traced the trajectories of both artificial agents and bees. In the latter case, K-track outperformed Ctrax, well-known software for tracking multiple animals. To investigate interaction events in detail, we manually identified five interaction categories; 'crossing', 'touching', 'passing', 'overlapping' and 'waiting', and examined the extent to which the models accurately identified these categories from bee's interactions. All 7 identified failures occurred near a wall at the outer edge of the arena. Finally, K-Track and Ctrax successfully tracked 77 and 60 of 84 recorded interactive events, respectively. K-Track identified multiple bees on a flat surface and tracked their speed changes and encounters with other bees, with good performance.
Villada, Carolina; Hidalgo, Vanesa; Almela, Mercedes; Mastorci, Francesca; Sgoifo, Andrea; Salvador, Alicia
Despite the relevance of behavior in understanding individual differences in the strategies used to cope with stressors, behavioral responses and their relationships with psychobiological changes have received little attention. In this study on young women, we aimed at analyzing the associations among different components of the stress response and behavioral coping using a laboratory psychosocial stressor. The Ethological Coding System for Interviews, as well as neuroendocrine, autonomic and mood parameters, were used to measure the stress response in 34 young women (17 free-cycling women in their early follicular phase and 17 oral contraceptive users) subjected to the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) and a control condition in a crossover design. No significant differences in cardiac autonomic, negative mood and anxiety responses to the stressor were observed between the two groups of women. However, women in the follicular phase showed a higher cortisol response and a larger decrease in positive mood during the social stress episode, as well as greater anxiety overall. Interestingly, the amount of displacement behavior exhibited during the speaking task of the TSST was positively related to anxiety levels preceding the test, but negatively related to baseline and stress response values of heart rate. Moreover, the amount of submissive behavior was negatively related to basal cortisol levels. Finally, eye contact and low-aggressiveness behaviors were associated with a worsening in mood. Overall, these findings emphasize the close relationship between coping behavior and psychobiological reactions, as well as the role of individual variations in the strategy of coping with a psychosocial stressor. PMID:25489730
Barrett, Catherine E; Keebaugh, Alaine C; Ahern, Todd H; Bass, Caroline E; Terwilliger, Ernest F; Young, Larry J
Polymorphisms in noncoding regions of the vasopressin 1a receptor gene (Avpr1a) are associated with a variety of socioemotional characteristics in humans, chimpanzees, and voles, and may impact behavior through a site-specific variation in gene expression. The socially monogamous prairie vole offers a unique opportunity to study such neurobiological control of individual differences in complex behavior. Vasopressin 1a receptor (V1aR) signaling is necessary for the formation of the pair bond in males, and prairie voles exhibit greater V1aR binding in the reward-processing ventral pallidum than do asocial voles of the same genus. Diversity in social behavior within prairie voles has been correlated to natural variation in neuropeptide receptor expression in specific brain regions. Here we use RNA interference to examine the causal relationship between intraspecific variation in V1aR and behavioral outcomes, by approximating the degree of naturalistic variation in V1aR expression. Juvenile male prairie voles were injected with viral vectors expressing shRNA sequences targeting Avpr1a mRNA into the ventral pallidum. Down-regulation of pallidal V1aR density resulted in a significant impairment in the preference for a mated female partner and a reduction in anxiety-like behavior in adulthood. No effect on alloparenting was detected. These data demonstrate that within-species naturalistic-like variation in V1aR expression has a profound effect on individual differences in social attachment and emotionality. RNA interference may prove to be a useful technique to unite the fields of behavioral ecology and neurogenetics to perform ethologically relevant studies of the control of individual variation and offer insight into the evolutionary mechanisms leading to behavioral diversity.
Brechbühl, Julien; Klaey, Magali; Moine, Fabian; Bovay, Esther; Hurni, Nicolas; Nenniger-Tosato, Monique; Broillet, Marie-Christine
In the mouse, the Grueneberg ganglion (GG) is an olfactory subsystem implicated both in chemo- and thermo-sensing. It is specifically involved in the recognition of volatile danger cues such as alarm pheromones and structurally-related predator scents. No evidence for these GG sensory functions has been reported yet in other rodent species. In this study, we used a combination of histological and physiological techniques to verify the presence of a GG and investigate its function in the rat, hamster, and gerbil comparing with the mouse. By scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmitted electron microscopy (TEM), we found isolated or groups of large GG cells of different shapes that in spite of their gross anatomical similarities, display important structural differences between species. We performed a comparative and morphological study focusing on the conserved olfactory features of these cells. We found fine ciliary processes, mostly wrapped in ensheating glial cells, in variable number of clusters deeply invaginated in the neuronal soma. Interestingly, the glial wrapping, the amount of microtubules and their distribution in the ciliary processes were different between rodents. Using immunohistochemistry, we were able to detect the expression of known GG proteins, such as the membrane guanylyl cyclase G and the cyclic nucleotide-gated channel A3. Both the expression and the subcellular localization of these signaling proteins were found to be species-dependent. Calcium imaging experiments on acute tissue slice preparations from rodent GG demonstrated that the chemo- and thermo-evoked neuronal responses were different between species. Thus, GG neurons from mice and rats displayed both chemo- and thermo-sensing, while hamsters and gerbils showed profound differences in their sensitivities. We suggest that the integrative comparison between the structural morphologies, the sensory properties, and the ethological contexts supports species-dependent GG features
Pfeiffer, Keram; Kinoshita, Michiyo
Visually guided behaviors require the brain to extract features of the visual world and to integrate them in a context-specific manner. Hymenopteran insects have been prime models for ethological research into visual behaviors for decades but knowledge about the underlying central processing is very limited. This is particularly the case for sky-compass navigation. To learn more about central processing of visual information in general and specifically to reveal a possible polarization vision pathway in the bee brain, we used tracer injections to investigate the pathways through the anterior optic tubercle, a prominent output target of the insect optic lobe, in the bumblebee Bombus ignitus. The anterior optic tubercle of the bumblebee is a small neuropil of 200 μm width and is located dorsolateral to the antennal lobe at the anterior surface of the brain. It is divided into a larger upper and a smaller lower subunit, both of which receive input from the optic lobe and connect to the lateral accessory lobe, and the contralateral tubercle, via two parallel pathways. The lower subunit receives input from the dorsal rim area (DRA) of the compound eye. The bumblebee DRA shares structural similarities with polarization-sensitive DRAs of other insects and looks similar to that of honeybees. We identified several neurons within this pathway that could be homologous to identified polarization-sensitive neurons in the locust brain. We therefore conclude that the pathway through the lower subunit of the anterior optic tubercle could carry polarization information from the periphery to the central brain.
Kurnikova, Anastasia; Moore, Jeffrey D; Liao, Song-Mao; Deschênes, Martin; Kleinfeld, David
The delineation of sensorimotor circuits that guide exploration begins with an understanding of the pattern of motor outputs . These motor patterns provide a clue to the form of the underlying circuits [2-4] (but see ). We focus on the behaviors that rodents use to explore their peripersonal space through goal-directed positioning of their nose, head, and vibrissae. Rodents sniff in response to novel odors, reward expectation, and as part of social interactions [6-12]. Sniffing serves olfaction [13, 14], while whisking synchronized to sniffing serves vibrissa-based touch [6, 15, 16]. We quantify the ethology of exploratory nose and head movements in relation to breathing. We find that sniffing is accompanied by prominent lateral and vertical deflections of the nose, i.e., twitches, which are driven by activation of the deflector nasi muscles . On the timescale of individual breaths, nose motion is rhythmic and has a maximum deflection following the onset of inspiration. On a longer timescale, excursions of the nose persist for several breaths and are accompanied by an asymmetry in vibrissa positioning toward the same side of the face. Such directed deflections can be triggered by a lateralized source of odor. Lastly, bobbing of the head as the animal cranes and explores is phase-locked to sniffing and to movement of the nose. These data, along with prior results on the resetting of the whisk cycle at the onset of inspiration [15, 16, 18], reveal that the onset of each breath initiates a "snapshot" of the orofacial sensory environment. VIDEO ABSTRACT.
Espina-Marchant, Pablo; Pinto-Hamuy, Teresa; Bustamante, Diego; Morales, Paola; Robles, Luis; Herrera-Marschitz, Mario
Place memory is relevant for exploration and forage behaviour. When food supply is dispersed, a win-shift has advantage over a win-stay strategy. In the Olton Octagonal Maze, the rat follows a win-shift strategy using working memory. However, in the Olton 4x4 version, the rat follows a win-stay strategy, using both working and long-term memories. It has been suggested that the neocortex is required for the resolution of tasks demanding long-term, but not for that demanding working memory alone. The role of anteromedial/posterior parietal cortex (AM/PPC) was investigated here, using a reversible lesion induced by intracerebral lidocaine infusion. Long-Evans rats were implanted with guide cannulae into the AM/PPC and trained in an Olton 4x4 maze, counting working and long-term memory errors after a delay. Then, the animals were infused with lidocaine or saline during the delay phase and tested for three days. Another series of animals, treated as before, was tested in an Olton Octagonal Maze and subjected to the same injection schedule. In the Olton 4x4 Maze, lidocaine produced a significant increase in working and long-term memory errors, compared to saline and post-lidocaine conditions. In contrast, in the Olton Octagonal Maze, lidocaine did not induce any effect on working memory errors. Thus, AM/PPC is required when both working with previous information and long-term memories are needed, but not when only working memory is required, as it happens under ethological conditions. Whenever food supply is dispersed, a win-shift strategy is preferable.
Brand, Colin M; Boose, Klaree J; Squires, Erica C; Marchant, Linda F; White, Frances J; Meinelt, Audra; Snodgrass, J Josh
Hair plucking has been observed in many captive primate species, including the great apes; however, the etiology of this behavioral pattern is poorly understood. While this behavior has not been reported in wild apes, an ethologically identical behavior in humans, known as trichotillomania, is linked to chronic psychosocial stress and is a predominantly female disorder. This study examines hair plucking (defined here as a rapid jerking away of the hair shaft and follicle by the hand or mouth, often accompanied by inspection and consumption of the hair shaft and follicle) in a captive group of bonobos (N = 13) at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus, Ohio. Plucking data were collected using behavior and all-occurrence sampling; 1,450 social and self-directed grooming bouts were recorded during 128 hr of observation. Twenty-one percent of all grooming bouts involved at least one instance of plucking. Urine samples (N = 55) were collected and analyzed for the stress hormone cortisol. Analyses of urinary cortisol levels showed a significant positive correlation between mean cortisol and self-directed plucking for females (r = 0.88, P < 0.05) but not for males (r = -0.73, P = 0.09). These results demonstrate an association between relative self-directed hair plucking and cortisol among female bonobos. This is the first study to investigate the relationship between hair plucking and cortisol among apes. Overall, these data add to our knowledge of a contemporary issue in captive ape management. Zoo Biol. 35:415-422, 2016. © Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Stumpf, Peter; Künzle, Heinz; Welsch, Ulrich
In order to find correlations between skin gland morphology and specific ethological features, the cutaneous glands of the foot pads of the primitive mammal the Madagascan tenrec, Echinops telfairi, were studied by histological and various histochemical methods as well as by electron microscopy. In the foot pads specific eccrine skin glands occurred consisting of coiled ducts and tubular secretory portions, the lumina of which were considerably wider than in primate sweat glands. The secretory tubules were composed of branched myoepithelial cells and glandular cells. The latter contained abundant mitochondria, large amounts of glycogen particles and few secretory granules as well as individual heterolysosomes and myelin bodies. The lateral cell membrane was marked by extensive interdigitations. The apical membranes of all glandular cells contained proteoglycans with sulfated and carboxylated groups containing N-acetyl-glucosamine, N-acetyl-galactosamine, galactose and mannose. The expression pattern of cytokeratins of the glandular epithelium was variable and showed similarities to that of the human eccrine glands. Tubulin, vinculin and actin were expressed in the glandular epithelium. The secretory cells showed positive reactions with antibodies against antimicrobial peptides and IgA. A positive reaction was observed with antibodies against the androgen receptor. The PCNA and TUNEL reactions indicated that the tubular skin glands of Echinops are made up of a slowly renewing tissue. We conclude that the glands fulfill several functions: production of a fluid-rich secretory product, which may prevent slipping of the foot pads on the substrate during running or climbing, secretion of antimicrobial peptides and proteins, and playing a role in thermoregulation.
Gerencsér, Linda; Vásárhelyi, Gábor; Nagy, Máté; Vicsek, Tamas; Miklósi, Adam
Monitoring and describing the physical movements and body postures of animals is one of the most fundamental tasks of ethology. The more precise the observations are the more sophisticated the interpretations can be about the biology of a certain individual or species. Animal-borne data loggers have recently contributed much to the collection of motion-data from individuals, however, the problem of translating these measurements to distinct behavioural categories to create an ethogram is not overcome yet. The objective of the present study was to develop a "behaviour tracker": a system composed of a multiple sensor data-logger device (with a tri-axial accelerometer and a tri-axial gyroscope) and a supervised learning algorithm as means of automated identification of the behaviour of freely moving dogs. We collected parallel sensor measurements and video recordings of each of our subjects (Belgian Malinois, N=12; Labrador Retrievers, N=12) that were guided through a predetermined series of standard activities. Seven behavioural categories (lay, sit, stand, walk, trot, gallop, canter) were pre-defined and each video recording was tagged accordingly. Evaluation of the measurements was performed by support vector machine (SVM) classification. During the analysis we used different combinations of independent measurements for training and validation (belonging to the same or different individuals or using different training data size) to determine the robustness of the application. We reached an overall accuracy of above 90% perfect identification of all the defined seven categories of behaviour when both training and validation data belonged to the same individual, and over 80% perfect recognition rate using a generalized training data set of multiple subjects. Our results indicate that the present method provides a good model for an easily applicable, fast, automatic behaviour classification system that can be trained with arbitrary motion patterns and potentially be
Torres-Lista, Virginia; López-Pousa, Secundino; Giménez-Llort, Lydia
Translational research on behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) is relevant to the study the neuropsychiatric symptoms that strongly affect the quality of life of the human Alzheimer's disease (AD) patient and caregivers, frequently leading to early institutionalization. Among the ethological behavioural tests for rodents, marble burying is considered to model the spectrum of anxiety, psychotic and obsessive-compulsive like symptoms. The present work was aimed to study the behavioural interactions of 12 month-old male 3xTg-AD mice with small objects using the marble-burying test, as compared to the response elicited in age-matched non-transgenic (NTg) mice. The distinction of the classical 'number of buried marbles' but also those left 'intact' and those 'changed' of position of marbles or partially buried (the transitional level of interaction) provided new insights into the modelling of BPSD-like alterations in this AD model. The analysis revealed genotype differences in the behavioural patterns and predominant behaviors. In the NTg mice, predominance was shown in the 'changed or partially buried', while interactions with marble were enhanced in 3xTg-AD mice resulting in an increase of marble burying. Besides, genotype-dependent meaningful correlations were found, with the marble test pattern of 3xTg-AD mice being directly related to neophobia in the corner tests. In both genotypes, the increase of burying was reversed by chronic treatment with risperidone (1mg/kg, s.c.). In 3xTg-AD mice, the repetitive handling of animals during the treatment also exerted modulatory effects. These distinct patterns further characterize the modelling of BPSD-like symptoms in the 3xTg-AD mice, and provide another behavioural tool to assess the benefits of preventive and/or therapeutic strategies, as well as the potential action of risk factors for AD, in this animal model.
Griffiths, D P; Clayton, N S
Episodic memory involves the encoding and storage of memories concerned with unique personal experiences and their subsequent recall, and it has long been the subject of intensive investigation in humans. According to Tulving's classical definition, episodic memory "receives and stores information about temporally dated episodes or events and temporal-spatial relations among these events." Thus, episodic memory provides information about the 'what' and 'when' of events ('temporally dated experiences') and about 'where' they happened ('temporal-spatial relations'). The storage and subsequent recall of this episodic information was thought to be beyond the memory capabilities of nonhuman animals. Although there are many laboratory procedures for investigating memory for discrete past episodes, until recently there were no previous studies that fully satisfied the criteria of Tulving's definition: they can all be explained in much simpler terms than episodic memory. However, current studies of memory for cache sites in food-storing jays provide an ethologically valid model for testing episodic-like memory in animals, thereby bridging the gap between human and animal studies memory. There is now a pressing need to adapt these experimental tests of episodic memory for other animals. Given the potential power of transgenic and knock-out procedures for investigating the genetic and molecular bases of learning and memory in laboratory rodents, not to mention the wealth of knowledge about the neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of the rodent hippocampus (a brain area heavily implicated in episodic memory), an obvious next step is to develop a rodent model of episodic-like memory based on the food-storing bird paradigm. The development of a rodent model system could make an important contribution to our understanding of the neural, molecular, and behavioral mechanisms of mammalian episodic memory.
Mo, Christina; Renoir, Thibault; Hannan, Anthony J
The mechanistic understanding of lifestyle contributions to disease has been largely driven by work in laboratory rodent models using environmental interventions. These interventions show an array of methodologies and sometimes unclear collective conclusions, hampering clinical interpretations. Here we discuss environmental enrichment, exercise and stress interventions to illustrate how different protocols can affect the interpretations of environmental factors in disease. We use Huntington's disease (HD) as an example because its mouse models exhibit excellent validity and HD was the first genetic animal model in which environmental stimulation was found to be beneficial. We make a number of observations and recommendations. Firstly, environmental enrichment and voluntary exercise generally show benefits across laboratories and mouse models. However, the extent to which these environmental interventions have beneficial effects depends on parameters such as the structural complexity of the cage in the case of enrichment, the timing of the intervention and the nature of the control conditions. In particular, clinical interpretations should consider deprived control living conditions and the ethological relevance of the enrichment. Secondly, stress can have negative effects on the phenotype in mouse models of HD and other brain disorders. When modeling stress, the effects of more than one type of experimental stressor should be investigated due to the heterogeneity and complexity of stress responses. With stress in particular, but ideally in all studies, both sexes should be used and the randomized group sizes need to be sufficiently powered to detect any sex effects. Opportunities for clinical translation will be guided by the 'environmental construct validity' of the preclinical data, including the culmination of complementary protocols across multiple animal models. Environmental interventions in mouse models of HD provide illustrative examples of how valid
Blackiston, Douglas; Shomrat, Tal; Nicolas, Cindy L; Granata, Christopher; Levin, Michael
A deep understanding of cognitive processes requires functional, quantitative analyses of the steps leading from genetics and the development of nervous system structure to behavior. Molecularly-tractable model systems such as Xenopus laevis and planaria offer an unprecedented opportunity to dissect the mechanisms determining the complex structure of the brain and CNS. A standardized platform that facilitated quantitative analysis of behavior would make a significant impact on evolutionary ethology, neuropharmacology, and cognitive science. While some animal tracking systems exist, the available systems do not allow automated training (feedback to individual subjects in real time, which is necessary for operant conditioning assays). The lack of standardization in the field, and the numerous technical challenges that face the development of a versatile system with the necessary capabilities, comprise a significant barrier keeping molecular developmental biology labs from integrating behavior analysis endpoints into their pharmacological and genetic perturbations. Here we report the development of a second-generation system that is a highly flexible, powerful machine vision and environmental control platform. In order to enable multidisciplinary studies aimed at understanding the roles of genes in brain function and behavior, and aid other laboratories that do not have the facilities to undergo complex engineering development, we describe the device and the problems that it overcomes. We also present sample data using frog tadpoles and flatworms to illustrate its use. Having solved significant engineering challenges in its construction, the resulting design is a relatively inexpensive instrument of wide relevance for several fields, and will accelerate interdisciplinary discovery in pharmacology, neurobiology, regenerative medicine, and cognitive science.
Díaz-Freije, Eva; Gestal, Camino; Castellanos-Martínez, Sheila; Morán, Paloma
DNA methylation is a common regulator of gene expression and development in mammalian and other vertebrate genomes. DNA methylation has been studied so far in a few bivalve mollusk species, finding a wide spectrum of levels. We focused our study in the common octopus, Octopus vulgaris, an important organism for neuroscience, physiology and ethology research as well as for human consumption. We aim to confirm the existence of DNA methylation in O. vulgaris and ultimately, if methylation plays a role in gene regulation during octopus development. We used a genome-wide approach, methylation-sensitive amplified polymorphism (MSAP), firstly in four different tissues from the same specimens from adult benthonic individuals to test whether gene expression is regulated by methylation. Secondly, we tested the hypothesis that methylation underlies development by assessing MSAP patters from paralarvae to adult developmental stages. Our data indicate that octopus genome is widely methylated since clear differences can be observed, and the methylation pattern changes with the development. The statistical analyses showed significant differences in methylation pattern between paralarvae, where higher internal cytosine methylation is observed, and the three other post-hatching stages. This suggests an important role of cytosine methylation during the first step of development, when major morphological changes take place. However, methylation seems to have little effect on gene expression during the benthonic phase, since no significant effect was revealed in the analyses of molecular variance (AMOVA) performed. Our observations highlight the importance of epigenetic mechanisms in the first developmental steps of the common octopus and opens new perspectives to overcome high mortality rate during paralarvae growth. Thus, better understanding the molecular regulation patterns could lead to new approaches that increase the efficiency of husbandry of this emergent species for
Barrett, James E
Berend Olivier has had a long-standing interest in the utility of animal models for a wide variety of therapeutic indications. His work has spanned multiple types of models, blending ethological, or species typical and naturalistic behaviors, along with methodologies based on learned behavior. He has consistently done so, from an analytical as well as predictive perspective, and has made multiple contributions while working in both the pharmaceutical industry and within an academic institution. Although focused primarily on psychiatric disorders, Berend has conducted research in the area of pain in humans and in animals, demonstrating an expansive appreciation for the breadth, scope and significance of the science and applications of the discipline of pharmacology to these diverse areas. This review focuses on the use of animal models in pain research from the perspective of the long-standing deficiencies in the development of therapeutics in this area and from a preclinical perspective where the translational weaknesses have been quite problematic. The challenges confronting animal models of pain, however, are not unique to this area of research, as they cut across several therapeutic areas. Despite the deficiencies, failures and concerns, existing animal models of pain continue to be of widespread use and are essential to progress in pain research as well as in other areas. Although not focusing on specific animal models of pain, this paper seeks to examine general issues facing the use of these models. It does so by exploring alternative approaches which capture recent developments, which build upon principles and concepts we have learned from Berend's contributions, and which provide the prospect of helping to address the absence of novel therapeutics in this area.
In spite of recent clinical and research advances, an increased burden of mortality and morbidity related to stress and mental ill health can be noted, especially in European societies and populations undergoing stressful transitions and dramatic changes. A societal syndrome, consisting of depression, suicide, abuse, risk-taking and violent behaviour as well as vascular morbidity and mortality, can be observed, reflecting individual psychopathology related to disturbances of the serotonin metabolism as one of the oldest, most basic cerebral instruments of mankind to survive, to socialize, to cope with stress and danger. In a time where mental health professionals look for new and challenging identities, they have a tendency to abdicate from social psychiatric and public health activities in favour of more prestigious positions in brain research, genetics or advanced psychotherapy. A redefinition, reconceptualization and renaissance of social psychiatry seems timely and necessary, responding to the burden, advances and possibilities related to mental health we find today. It should proceed from the reductionism which often has characterized earlier psychosocial and social psychiatric approaches, utilize modern knowledge about neuroplasticity, psychoimmunology, neuropsychology and neurophilosophy, reflect the interaction between environment and structure, nature and nurture, and integrate different areas of knowledge in a holistic public mental health approach. Political decisions and societal solutions can be more or less in line with basic human preconditions. Consequences of failure to respect this already can be seen. A new awareness and responsibility-taking with regard to basic human ethological, physiological, psychological and existential conditions is needed and has to be concretized in innovative public mental health approaches. PMID:16946915
Rauch, Elke; Firnkäs, Nina; Hirsch, Nicola; Damme, Klaus; Schmidt, Paul; Erhard, Michael H; Bergmann, Shana
Pekin ducks have an innate affinity for water. They seek water from the first day of life and use it for a multitude of behaviors. Currently implemented requirements to husbandry and the design of an animal-friendly offer of drinking water in commercial fattening establishments exist neither at EU-level nor in Germany. Aim of the study was to examine the use of the AquaDuc T® (Big Dutchman, Vechta, Germany) and its practical suitability concerning the behavior during the fattening of Pekin ducks under commercial conditions. The examinations took place in three farms (7140-13,515 fattening places). On farm 1 and 3, 16 fattening periods were observed (switch-over design: alternately test and control trial) with each one visited between day 28-32 and 35-39. On farm 2, only ten fattening periods could be examined. The ducks were in general supplied with drinking water via nipple drinkers. For the test trials, the AquaDuc T® drinkers were additionally installed and were accessible for a limited time. To record the natural and undisturbed behavior of the ducks in their housing system, the video recordings were started after we finished the farm visits and in total more than 6300 hours of video material were analyzed. All findings show that Pekin ducks clearly favor the round bell drinkers over the nipple drinkers. They enable the birds to immerse their heads, to drink and strain in a species-specific manner, to take care of the plumage with water and to clean beak and eyes. In the test trials, the drinking activity rose significantly during the operating time of the round drinkers (p < 0.001), whereas the nipple drinkers were used less frequently at the same time. Concerning ethology and health, the round drinkers offer the ducks very good conditions for an animal-friendly water supply. For economic and hygienic reasons, the daily access to the modified round drinkers should be limited.
Blandin, N; Parquet, P J; Bailly, D
The interest in separation anxiety is nowadays increasing: this disorder appearing during childhood may predispose to the occurrence of anxiety disorders (such as panic disorder and agoraphobia) and major depression into adulthood. Psychoanalytic theories differ on the nature of separation anxiety and its place in child development. For some authors, separation anxiety must be understood as resulting from the unconscious internal conflicts inherent in the individuation process and gradual attainment of autonomy. From this point of view, the fear of loss of mother by separation is not regarded as resulting from a real danger. However, Freud considers the primary experience of separation from protecting mother as the prototype situation of anxiety and compares the situations generating fear to separation experiences. For him, anxiety originates from two factors: the physiological fact is initiated at the time of birth but the primary traumatic situation is the separation from mother. This point of view may be compared with behavioral theories. Behavioral theories suggest that separation anxiety may be conditioned or learned from innate fears. In Freud's theory, the primary situation of anxiety resulting from the separation from mother plays a role comparable to innate fears. Grappling with the problem of separation anxiety, Bowlby emphasizes then the importance of the child's attachment to one person (mother or primary caregiver) and the fact that this attachment is instinctive. This point of view, based on the watch of infants, is akin to ethological theories on behaviour of non human primates. Bowlby especially shows that the reactions of infant separated from mother evolve on three stages: the phase of protestation which may constitute the prototype of adulthood anxiety, the phase of desperation which may be the prototype of depression, and the phase of detachment. He emphasizes so the role of early separations in the development of vulnerability to depression
de Nicolas, A T
New discoveries in perceptual psychology, brain chemistry, brain evolution, brain development, ethology, cultural anthropology, the more recent work of MacLean on the structure of the brains and the discovery by Gazzaniga of the role of the, so-called, "interpreter module," are the foundations of a new paradigm on human cortical information processing, called by its discoverer, Dr. M. Colavito, the "biocultural paradigm." This paradigm shows that biology and culture act on one another as the conditioning parameters of neurocultural information. Through mutual interaction biology in humans becomes culture, and vice versa, culture opens and stimulates the neural passages of the brains, accounting thus for the varieties of brains in humans, and for cultural diversity. Culture conditions and stimulates biology, while biology conditions and makes culture possible. Cultures and brains may be distinguished from one another through identification with certain functions or combination of functions that are exercised habitually, or become neural hard-wire through repetition or habit. This new model has replaced older and simpler models of the nature/ nurture controversy, such as the unextended rational substance of Descartes, the tabula rasa of Locke, the associated-matrix of Hume, the passive, reinforcement-driven animal of Skinner, and the genetically hard-wired robot of the sociobiologists. However, elements of these earlier models are included in the new one, but the conversation about human experience has changed, and, therefore, the human images of ourselves. This change was forced on scientists by the importance of the conditionality of the experience of "I" and "not-I" as described by Alex Comfort in his book I and That, and was introduced in the conversations some of us already had with each other. This article focuses on the "I" and "not-I" experiences with a description of the "not-I" or "oceanic" or "mystical" experience to clarify the new paradigm of
Leonardo, Anthony; Meister, Markus
A basic task faced by the visual system of many organisms is to accurately track the position of moving prey. The retina is the first stage in the processing of such stimuli; the nature of the transformation here, from photons to spike trains, constrains not only the ultimate fidelity of the tracking signal but also the ease with which it can be extracted by other brain regions. Here we demonstrate that a population of fast-OFF ganglion cells in the salamander retina, whose dynamics are governed by a nonlinear circuit, serve to compute the future position of the target over hundreds of milliseconds. The extrapolated position of the target is not found by stimulus reconstruction but is instead computed by a weighted sum of ganglion cell outputs, the population vector average (PVA). The magnitude of PVA extrapolation varies systematically with target size, speed, and acceleration, such that large targets are tracked most accurately at high speeds, and small targets at low speeds, just as is seen in the motion of real prey. Tracking precision reaches the resolution of single photoreceptors, and the PVA algorithm performs more robustly than several alternative algorithms. If the salamander brain uses the fast-OFF cell circuit for target extrapolation as we suggest, the circuit dynamics should leave a microstructure on the behavior that may be measured in future experiments. Our analysis highlights the utility of simple computations that, while not globally optimal, are efficiently implemented and have close to optimal performance over a limited but ethologically relevant range of stimuli.
Brunton, Paula J; Sullivan, Katie M; Kerrigan, David; Russell, John A; Seckl, Jonathan R; Drake, Amanda J
Glucocorticoid overexposure during pregnancy programmes offspring physiology and predisposes to later disease. However, any impact of ethologically relevant maternal stress is less clear, yet of physiological importance. Here, we investigated in rats the short- and long-term effects in adult offspring of repeated social stress (exposure to an aggressive lactating female) during late pregnancy on glucose regulation following stress, glucose-insulin homoeostasis and peripheral expression of genes important in regulating glucose and lipid metabolism and glucocorticoid action. Prenatal stress (PNS) was associated with reduced birth weight in female, but not male, offspring. The increase in blood glucose with restraint was exaggerated in adult PNS males compared with controls, but not in females. Oral glucose tolerance testing showed no effects on plasma glucose or insulin concentrations in either sex at 3 months; however, at 6 months, PNS females were hyperinsulinaemic following an oral glucose load. In PNS males, plasma triglyceride concentrations were increased, with reduced hepatic mRNA expression of 5α-reductase and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (Pparα (Ppara)) and a strong trend towards reduced peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1α (Pgc1α (Ppargc1a)) and Pparγ (Pparg) expression, whereas only Pgc1α mRNA was affected in PNS females. Conversely, in subcutaneous fat, PNS reduced mRNA expression of 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11βhsd1), phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (Pepck (Pck1)), adipose triglyceride lipase (Atgl) and diglyceride acyltransferase 2 (Dgat2) in females, but only Pepck mRNA expression was reduced in PNS males. Thus, prenatal social stress differentially programmes glucose homoeostasis and peripheral metabolism in male and female offspring. These long-term alterations in physiology may increase susceptibility to metabolic disease.
Albrechet-Souza, Lucas; Cristina de Carvalho, Milene; Rodrigues Franci, Celso; Brandão, Marcus L
A single exposure to the elevated plus-maze test (EPM) reduces or abolishes the anxiolytic efficacy of benzodiazepines on a second trial. This phenomenon known as one-trial tolerance (OTT) is considered to be due to a shift in the emotional state of the animals across the test/retest sessions. Activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis has been considered to be an adaptive response to stressful or challenging situations such as height and openness of the EPM. This work looks at the phenomenon of OTT to the benzodiazepine compound midazolam through the conjoint examination of the novel ethological measures of the EPM and adrenocortical response of rats exposed to single and repeated sessions of the EPM. The results obtained confirmed that the approach/avoidance conflict on the first trial of the EPM is very sensitive to the anxiolytic effects of benzodiazepines. Moreover, stressful stimuli present upon initial exposure to the EPM render the standard measures of the EPM resistant to the anxiolytic effects of benzodiazepines on retest. However, the increases in plasma corticosterone and in risk assessment behavior observed in rats submitted to single or repeated sessions in the EPM were reversed by pretreatment with midazolam. The administration of metyrapone, a glucocorticoid synthesis blocker, decreased risk assessment but did not affect locomotion and anxiety-like behaviors. It is suggested that the detection of the dangerous environment through the stretched-attend postures in the second trial leads to the known low level of exploration and the consequent OTT upon retest. Moreover, in view of the similarity between the risk assessment and plasma corticosterone patterns in both naive and experienced rats, this hormone-behavior profile may be crucial for the expression of OTT to benzodiazepines in rodents exposed to the EPM.
Fineberg, NA; Chamberlain, SR; Hollander, E; Boulougouris, V; Robbins, TW
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by obsessions (intrusive thoughts) and compulsions (repetitive ritualistic behaviours) leading to functional impairment. Accumulating evidence links these conditions with underlying dysregulation of fronto-striatal circuitry and monoamine systems. These abnormalities represent key targets for existing and novel treatment interventions. However, the brain bases of these conditions and treatment mechanisms are still not fully elucidated. Animal models simulating the behavioural and clinical manifestations of the disorder show great potential for augmenting our understanding of the pathophysiology and treatment of OCD. This paper provides an overview of what is known about OCD from several perspectives. We begin by describing the clinical features of OCD and the criteria used to assess the validity of animal models of symptomatology; namely, face validity (phenomenological similarity between inducing conditions and specific symptoms of the human phenomenon), predictive validity (similarity in response to treatment) and construct validity (similarity in underlying physiological or psychological mechanisms). We then survey animal models of OC spectrum conditions within this framework, focusing on (i) ethological models; (ii) genetic and pharmacological models; and (iii) neurobehavioural models. We also discuss their advantages and shortcomings in relation to their capacity to identify potentially efficacious new compounds. It is of interest that there has been rather little evidence of ‘false alarms’ for therapeutic drug effects in OCD models which actually fail in the clinic. While it is more difficult to model obsessive cognition than compulsive behaviour in experimental animals, it is feasible to infer cognitive inflexibility in certain animal paradigms. Finally, key future neurobiological and treatment research areas are highlighted. LINKED ARTICLES This article is part of a themed issue on Translational
Bremen, Peter; Joris, Philip X
Interaural time differences (ITDs) are a major cue for localizing low-frequency (<1.5 kHz) sounds. Sensitivity to this cue first occurs in the medial superior olive (MSO), which is thought to perform a coincidence analysis on its monaural inputs. Extracellular single-neuron recordings in MSO are difficult to obtain because (1) MSO action potentials are small and (2) a large field potential locked to the stimulus waveform hampers spike isolation. Consequently, only a limited number of studies report MSO data, and even in these studies data are limited in the variety of stimuli used, in the number of neurons studied, and in spike isolation. More high-quality data are needed to better understand the mechanisms underlying neuronal ITD-sensitivity. We circumvented these difficulties by recording from the axons of MSO neurons in the lateral lemniscus (LL) of the chinchilla, a species with pronounced low-frequency sensitivity. Employing sharp glass electrodes we successfully recorded from neurons with ITD sensitivity: the location, response properties, latency, and spike shape were consistent with an MSO axonal origin. The main difficulty encountered was mechanical stability. We obtained responses to binaural beats and dichotic noise bursts to characterize the best delay versus characteristic frequency distribution, and compared the data to recordings we obtained in the inferior colliculus (IC). In contrast to most reports in other rodents, many best delays were close to zero ITD, both in MSO and IC, with a majority of the neurons recorded in the LL firing maximally within the presumed ethological ITD range.
May-Concha, Irving; Guerenstein, Pablo G; Ramsey, Janine M; Rojas, Julio C; Catalá, Silvia
Triatoma dimidiata (Latreille) is a species complex that spans North, Central, and South America and which is a key vector of all known discrete typing units (DTU) of Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiologic agent of Chagas disease. Morphological and genetic studies indicate that T. dimidiata is a species complex with three principal haplogroups (hg) in Mexico. Different markers and traits are still inconclusive regarding if other morphological differentiation may indicate probable behavioral and vectorial divergences within this complex. In this paper we compared the antennae of three Mexican haplogroups (previously verified by molecular markers ND4 and ITS-2) and discussed possible relationships with their capacity to disperse and colonized new habitats. The abundance of each type of sensillum (bristles, basiconics, thick- and thin-walled trichoids) on the antennae of the three haplogroups, were measured under light microscopy and compared using Kruskal-Wallis non-parametric and multivariate non-parametric analyses. Discriminant analyses indicate significant differences among the antennal phenotype of haplogroups either for adults and some nymphal stages, indicating consistency of the character to analyze intraspecific variability within the complex. The present study shows that the adult antennal pedicel of the T. dimidiata complex have abundant chemosensory sensilla, according with good capacity for dispersal and invasion of different habitats also related to their high capacity to adapt to conserved as well as modified habitats. However, the numerical differences among the haplogroups are suggesting variations in that capacity. The results here presented support the evidence of T. dimidiata as a species complex but show females and males in a different way. Given the close link between the bug's sensory system and its habitat and host-seeking behavior, AP characterization could be useful to complement genetic, neurological and ethological studies of the closely
Dirnwoeber, M.; Herler, J.
The obligate coral-dwelling gobiid genus Gobiodon inhabits Acropora corals and has developed various physiological, morphological and ethological adaptations towards this life habit. While the advantages of this coral-fish association are well documented for Gobiodon, possible fitness-increasing factors for the host coral are unknown. This study examines the influence of coral-dwelling gobies on the feeding behaviour of obligate corallivorous butterflyfishes. In an aquarium experiment using video observation, the corallivorous butterflyfish Chaetodon austriacus fed significantly less on corals inhabited by two Gobiodon species compared to unoccupied coral colonies of similar size. The more agonistic species G. histrio, which mostly displayed directed movements towards butterflyfishes, decreased butterflyfish bite rate by 62-98 % compared to uninhabited colonies. For Gobiodon sp. 3, which mostly displayed undirected movements in response to visits by C. austriacus, bite rate reduction was 64-68 %. The scale-less skin of Gobiodon spp. is covered by mucus that is toxic and multi-functional by reducing predation as well as affecting parasite attachment. A choice flume experiment suggests that the highly diluted skin mucus of Gobiodon spp. also functions as a corallivore repellent. This study demonstrates that Gobiodon spp. exhibit resource defence against coral-feeding butterflyfishes and also that coral colonies without resident Gobiodon suffer higher predation rates. Although the genus Gobiodon is probably a facultative corallivore, this study shows that by reducing predation on inhabited colonies by other fishes, these obligate coral-dwellers either compensate for their own fitness-decreasing impact on host colonies or live in a mutualistic association with them.
Brunton, Paula J
A suboptimal in utero environment, for example, as a result of maternal stress, can have detrimental effects on the pregnancy and long-term adverse 'programming' effects on the offspring. This article focuses on the effects of prenatal social stress on the mother, her pregnancy and the offspring, since these issues have ethological relevance in both animals and humans. The consequences of social stress exposure depend on when during pregnancy the stress occurs, and many of the effects on the offspring are sex specific. Social stress during early pregnancy tends to result in pregnancy loss, whereas stress exposure later in pregnancy, when the mother has already invested considerable resources in the foetuses, results in programmed offspring of low birth weight: a risk factor for various adulthood diseases. Neuroendocrine and behavioural responses to stress in the offspring are particularly sensitive to foetal programming by prenatal stress, indicated by enhanced hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis responses and increased anxiety behaviour, which result from permanent changes in the offspring's brain. The dysregulation of HPA axis function may also interfere with other systems, for example, the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, as there is evidence for alterations in steroidogenesis, reproductive potential and impaired reproductive/social behaviours in prenatally stressed offspring. Prenatal social stress also programmes future maternal behaviour, highlighting the potential for negative phenotypes to be transmitted to future generations. The possible mechanisms through which maternal stress during pregnancy is transmitted to the foetuses and the foetal brain is programmed by prenatal stress and the potential to overwrite programming of the offspring are discussed.
Montiel-Castro, Augusto J.; González-Cervantes, Rina M.; Bravo-Ruiseco, Gabriela; Pacheco-López, Gustavo
Recent data suggest that the human body is not such a neatly self-sufficient island after all. It is more like a super-complex ecosystem containing trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms that inhabit all our surfaces; skin, mouth, sexual organs, and specially intestines. It has recently become evident that such microbiota, specifically within the gut, can greatly influence many physiological parameters, including cognitive functions, such as learning, memory and decision making processes. Human microbiota is a diverse and dynamic ecosystem, which has evolved in a mutualistic relationship with its host. Ontogenetically, it is vertically inoculated from the mother during birth, established during the first year of life and during lifespan, horizontally transferred among relatives, mates or close community members. This micro-ecosystem serves the host by protecting it against pathogens, metabolizing complex lipids and polysaccharides that otherwise would be inaccessible nutrients, neutralizing drugs and carcinogens, modulating intestinal motility, and making visceral perception possible. It is now evident that the bidirectional signaling between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain, mainly through the vagus nerve, the so called “microbiota–gut–vagus–brain axis,” is vital for maintaining homeostasis and it may be also involved in the etiology of several metabolic and mental dysfunctions/disorders. Here we review evidence on the ability of the gut microbiota to communicate with the brain and thus modulate behavior, and also elaborate on the ethological and cultural strategies of human and non-human primates to select, transfer and eliminate microorganisms for selecting the commensal profile. PMID:24109440
Jirkof, P; Tourvieille, A; Cinelli, P; Arras, M
Sustained-release formulations of analgesic drugs are promising alternatives to repeated drug injections. Here, we compared a sustained-release formulation of buprenorphine (SB, 2.2 mg/kg) with a standard protocol of three injections of buprenorphine (Temgesic, 0.1 mg/kg/8 h) in mice. Buprenorphine serum concentration and analgesic action (thermal sensitivity) were determined in healthy mice. Additionally, the pain relief properties of both protocols were assessed after laparotomy using physiological and ethological measures of pain and recovery. Serum concentrations and thermal sensitivity tests indicated duration of action of at least 4 h (but less than 8 h) with the Temgesic protocol, and 24-48 h with SB. Behavioural and clinical parameters indicated at least partial pain relief after surgery for both protocols. Observed side-effects of buprenorphine independent of the protocol were increased activity, disturbed circadian rhythm and several abnormal behaviours. A tendency for decreased food and water intake as well as body weight reduction was also seen. Body weight decreased significantly in animals that received three injections of Temgesic, regardless of whether surgery was performed or not (P = 0.015; P = 0.023), hinting at a stress response towards this repeated intervention. In conclusion, an application interval of 8 h (Temgesic) appears too long and might lead to repeated periods with insufficient analgesia in animals undergoing lasting and/or substantial pain after surgery. In comparison to the standard protocol, SB provided a long-lasting, assured analgesia without possible stressful repeated injections in a standard surgical model, with only limited and acceptable behavioural side-effects.
Rosemberg, Denis B; Rico, Eduardo P; Mussulini, Ben Hur M; Piato, Angelo L; Calcagnotto, Maria E; Bonan, Carla D; Dias, Renato D; Blaser, Rachel E; Souza, Diogo O; de Oliveira, Diogo L
The open tank paradigm, also known as novel tank diving test, is a protocol used to evaluate the zebrafish behavior. Several characteristics have been described for this species, including scototaxis, which is the natural preference for dark environments in detriment of bright ones. However, there is no evidence regarding the influence of "natural stimuli" in zebrafish subjected to novelty-based paradigms. In this report, we evaluated the spatio-temporal exploratory activity of the short-fin zebrafish phenotype in the open tank after a short-period confinement into dark/bright environments. A total of 44 animals were individually confined during a 10-min single session into one of three environments: black-painted, white-painted, and transparent cylinders (dark, bright, and transparent groups). Fish were further subjected to the novel tank test and their exploratory profile was recorded during a 15-min trial. The results demonstrated that zebrafish increased their vertical exploratory activity during the first 6-min, where the bright group spent more time and travelled a higher distance in the top area. Interestingly, all behavioral parameters measured for the dark group were similar to the transparent one. These data were confirmed by automated analysis of track and occupancy plots and also demonstrated that zebrafish display a classical homebase formation in the bottom area of the tank. A detailed spatio-temporal study of zebrafish exploratory behavior and the construction of representative ethograms showed that the experimental groups presented significant differences in the first 3-min vs. last 3-min of test. Although the main factors involved in these behavioral responses still remain ambiguous and require further investigation, the current report describes an alternative methodological approach for assessing the zebrafish behavior after a forced exposure to different environments. Additionally, the analysis of ethologically-relevant patterns across time could
A basic task faced by the visual system of many organisms is to accurately track the position of moving prey. The retina is the first stage in the processing of such stimuli; the nature of the transformation here, from photons to spike trains, constrains not only the ultimate fidelity of the tracking signal but also the ease with which it can be extracted by other brain regions. Here we demonstrate that a population of fast-OFF ganglion cells in the salamander retina, whose dynamics are governed by a nonlinear circuit, serve to compute the future position of the target over hundreds of milliseconds. The extrapolated position of the target is not found by stimulus reconstruction but is instead computed by a weighted sum of ganglion cell outputs, the population vector average (PVA). The magnitude of PVA extrapolation varies systematically with target size, speed, and acceleration, such that large targets are tracked most accurately at high speeds, and small targets at low speeds, just as is seen in the motion of real prey. Tracking precision reaches the resolution of single photoreceptors, and the PVA algorithm performs more robustly than several alternative algorithms. If the salamander brain uses the fast-OFF cell circuit for target extrapolation as we suggest, the circuit dynamics should leave a microstructure on the behavior that may be measured in future experiments. Our analysis highlights the utility of simple computations that, while not globally optimal, are efficiently implemented and have close to optimal performance over a limited but ethologically relevant range of stimuli. PMID:24155302
Christov-Moore, Leonardo; Simpson, Elizabeth A; Coudé, Gino; Grigaityte, Kristina; Iacoboni, Marco; Ferrari, Pier Francesco
Evidence suggests that there are differences in the capacity for empathy between males and females. However, how deep do these differences go? Stereotypically, females are portrayed as more nurturing and empathetic, while males are portrayed as less emotional and more cognitive. Some authors suggest that observed gender differences might be largely due to cultural expectations about gender roles. However, empathy has both evolutionary and developmental precursors, and can be studied using implicit measures, aspects that can help elucidate the respective roles of culture and biology. This article reviews evidence from ethology, social psychology, economics, and neuroscience to show that there are fundamental differences in implicit measures of empathy, with parallels in development and evolution. Studies in nonhuman animals and younger human populations (infants/children) offer converging evidence that sex differences in empathy have phylogenetic and ontogenetic roots in biology and are not merely cultural byproducts driven by socialization. We review how these differences may have arisen in response to males' and females' different roles throughout evolution. Examinations of the neurobiological underpinnings of empathy reveal important quantitative gender differences in the basic networks involved in affective and cognitive forms of empathy, as well as a qualitative divergence between the sexes in how emotional information is integrated to support decision making processes. Finally, the study of gender differences in empathy can be improved by designing studies with greater statistical power and considering variables implicit in gender (e.g., sexual preference, prenatal hormone exposure). These improvements may also help uncover the nature of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders in which one sex is more vulnerable to compromised social competence associated with impaired empathy.
Yee, J R; Kenkel, W M; Kulkarni, P; Moore, K; Perkeybile, A M; Toddes, S; Amacker, J A; Carter, C S; Ferris, C F
The advancement of neuroscience depends on continued improvement in methods and models. Here, we present novel techniques for the use of awake functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in the prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster) - an important step forward in minimally-invasive measurement of neural activity in a non-traditional animal model. Imaging neural responses in prairie voles, a species studied for its propensity to form strong and selective social bonds, is expected to greatly advance our mechanistic understanding of complex social and affective processes. The use of ultra-high-field fMRI allows for recording changes in region-specific activity throughout the entire brain simultaneously and with high temporal and spatial resolutions. By imaging neural responses in awake animals, with minimal invasiveness, we are able to avoid the confound of anesthesia, broaden the scope of possible stimuli, and potentially make use of repeated scans from the same animals. These methods are made possible by the development of an annotated and segmented 3D vole brain atlas and software for image analysis. The use of these methods in the prairie vole provides an opportunity to broaden neuroscientific investigation of behavior via a comparative approach, which highlights the ethological relevance of pro-social behaviors shared between voles and humans, such as communal breeding, selective social bonds, social buffering of stress, and caregiving behaviors. Results using these methods show that fMRI in the prairie vole is capable of yielding robust blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signal changes in response to hypercapnic challenge (inhaled 5% CO2), region-specific physical challenge (unilateral whisker stimulation), and presentation of a set of novel odors. Complementary analyses of repeated restraint sessions in the imaging hardware suggest that voles do not require acclimation to this procedure. Taken together, awake vole fMRI represents a new arena of neurobiological
Pearson, Brandon L; Defensor, Erwin B; Blanchard, D Caroline; Blanchard, Robert J
Rett syndrome is a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) associated with de novo mutations of the methyl CpG-binding protein 2 (MECP2) gene. Mecp2 functions as a transcription factor that regulates the expression of hundreds of genes. Identification of the role of Mecp2 in specific neurodevelopmental symptoms remains an important research aim. We previously demonstrated that male mice possessing a truncation mutation in Mecp2 are hyper-social. We predicted that reduced fear or anxiety might underlie this enhanced affiliation. In order to probe risk assessment and anxiety-like behavior, we compared Mecp2 truncation mutants to their wild-type littermates in the elevated plus maze and elevated zero maze. Additionally, subjects were administered the mouse defense test battery to evaluate unconditioned fear- and panic-like behavior to a graded set of threat scenarios and a predator stimulus. Mutant mice showed no significant changes in anxiety-like behavior. Yet, they displayed hyper-reactive escape and defensive behaviors to an animate predatory threat stimulus. Notably, mutant mice engaged in exaggerated active defense responding to threat stimuli at nearly all phases of the fear battery. These results reveal abnormalities in emotion regulation in Mecp2 mutants particularly in response to ecologically relevant threats. This hyper-responsivity suggests that transcriptional targets of Mecp2 are critical to emotion regulation. Moreover, we suggest that detailed analysis of defensive behavior and aggression with ethologically relevant tasks provides an avenue to interrogate gene-behavior mechanisms of neurodevelopmental and other psychiatric conditions.
Comoli, E; Ribeiro-Barbosa, E R; Negrão, N; Goto, M; Canteras, N S
The study of the neural basis of predatory behavior has been largely neglected over the recent years. Using an ethologically based approach, we presently delineate the prosencephalic systems mobilized during predation by examining Fos immunoreactivity in rats performing insect hunting. These results were further compared with those obtained from animals killed after the early nocturnal surge of food ingestion. First, predatory behavior was associated with a distinct Fos up-regulation in the ventrolateral caudoputamen at intermediate rostro-caudal levels, suggesting a possible candidate to organize the stereotyped sequence of actions seen during insect hunting. Insect predation also presented conspicuous mobilization of a neural network formed by a distinct amygdalar circuit (i.e. the postpiriform-transition area, the anterior part of cortical nucleus, anterior part of basomedial nucleus, posterior part of basolateral nucleus, and medial part of central nucleus) and affiliated sites in the bed nuclei of the stria terminalis (i.e. the rhomboid nucleus) and in the hypothalamus (i.e. the parasubthalamic nucleus). Accordingly, this network is likely to encode prey-related motivational values, such as prey's odor and taste, and to influence autonomic and motor control accompanying predatory eating. Notably, regular food intake was also associated with a relatively weak Fos up-regulation in this network. However, during regular surge of food intake, we observed a much larger mobilization in hypothalamic sites related to the homeostatic control of eating, namely, the arcuate nucleus and autonomic parts of the paraventricular nucleus. Overall, the present findings suggest potential neural systems involved in integrating prey-related motivational values and in organizing the stereotyped sequences of action seen during predation. Moreover, the comparison with regular food intake contrasts putative neural mechanisms controlling predatory related eating vs. regular food intake.
Meyer, Susann; Nürnberg, Gerd; Puppe, Birger; Langbein, Jan
The ability to establish categories enables organisms to classify stimuli, objects and events by assessing perceptual, associative or rational similarities and provides the basis for higher cognitive processing. The cognitive capabilities of farm animals are receiving increasing attention in applied ethology, a development driven primarily by scientifically based efforts to improve animal welfare. The present study investigated the learning of perceptual categories in Nigerian dwarf goats (Capra hircus) by using an automated learning device installed in the animals' pen. Thirteen group-housed goats were trained in a closed-economy approach to discriminate artificial two-dimensional symbols presented in a four-choice design. The symbols belonged to two categories: category I, black symbols with an open centre (rewarded) and category II, the same symbols but filled black (unrewarded). One symbol from category I and three different symbols from category II were used to define a discrimination problem. After the training of eight problems, the animals were presented with a transfer series containing the training problems interspersed with completely new problems made from new symbols belonging to the same categories. The results clearly demonstrate that dwarf goats are able to form categories based on similarities in the visual appearance of artificial symbols and to generalise across new symbols. However, the goats had difficulties in discriminating specific symbols. It is probable that perceptual problems caused these difficulties. Nevertheless, the present study suggests that goats housed under farming conditions have well-developed cognitive abilities, including learning of open-ended categories. This result could prove beneficial by facilitating animals' adaptation to housing environments that favour their cognitive capabilities.
Kafkafi, Neri; Yekutieli, Daniel; Elmer, Greg I
Data mining is a powerful bioinformatics strategy that has been successfully applied in vitro to screen for gene-expression profiles predicting toxicological or carcinogenic response ('class predictors'). In this report we used a data mining algorithm named Pattern Array (PA) in vivo to analyze mouse open-field behavior and characterize the psychopharmacological effects of three drug classes--psychomotor stimulant, opioid, and psychotomimetic. PA represents rodent movement with approximately 100,000 complex patterns, defined as multiple combinations of several ethologically relevant variables, and mines them for those that maximize any effect of interest, such as the difference between drug classes. We show that PA can discover behavioral predictors of all three drug classes, thus developing a reliable drug-classification scheme in small group sizes. The discovered predictors showed orderly dose dependency despite being explicitly mined only for class differences, with the high doses scoring 4-10 standard deviations from the vehicle group. Furthermore, these predictors correctly classified in a dose-dependent manner four 'unknown' drugs (ie that were not used in the training process), and scored a mixture of a psychomotor stimulant and an opioid as being intermediate between these two classes. The isolated behaviors were highly heritable (h(2)>50%) and replicable as determined in 10 inbred strains across three laboratories. PA can in principle be applied for mining behaviors predicting additional properties, such as within-class differences between drugs and within-drug dose-response, all of which can be measured automatically in a single session per animal in an open-field arena, suggesting a high potential as a tool in psychotherapeutic drug discovery.
Mitchinson, Ben; Prescott, Tony J.
Spatial attention is most often investigated in the visual modality through measurement of eye movements, with primates, including humans, a widely-studied model. Its study in laboratory rodents, such as mice and rats, requires different techniques, owing to the lack of a visual fovea and the particular ethological relevance of orienting movements of the snout and the whiskers in these animals. In recent years, several reliable relationships have been observed between environmental and behavioural variables and movements of the whiskers, but the function of these responses, as well as how they integrate, remains unclear. Here, we propose a unifying abstract model of whisker movement control that has as its key variable the region of space that is the animal's current focus of attention, and demonstrate, using computer-simulated behavioral experiments, that the model is consistent with a broad range of experimental observations. A core hypothesis is that the rat explicitly decodes the location in space of whisker contacts and that this representation is used to regulate whisker drive signals. This proposition stands in contrast to earlier proposals that the modulation of whisker movement during exploration is mediated primarily by reflex loops. We go on to argue that the superior colliculus is a candidate neural substrate for the siting of a head-centred map guiding whisker movement, in analogy to current models of visual attention. The proposed model has the potential to offer a more complete understanding of whisker control as well as to highlight the potential of the rodent and its whiskers as a tool for the study of mammalian attention. PMID:24086120
Bang, Sun Jung; Allen, Timothy A; Jones, Lauren K; Boguszewski, Pawel; Brown, Thomas H
Rodent ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) are ethologically critical social signals. Rats emit 22kHz USVs and 50kHz USVs, respectively, in conjunction with negative and positive affective states. Little is known about what controls emotional reactivity to these social signals. Using male Sprague-Dawley rats, we examined unconditional and conditional freezing behavior in response to the following auditory stimuli: three 22kHz USVs, a discontinuous tone whose frequency and on-off pattern matched one of the USVs, a continuous tone with the same or lower frequencies, a 4kHz discontinuous tone with an on-off pattern matched to one of the USVs, and a 50kHz USV. There were no differences among these stimuli in terms of the unconditional elicitation of freezing behavior. Thus, the stimuli were equally neutral before conditioning. During differential fear conditioning, one of these stimuli (the CS(+)) always co-terminated with a footshock unconditional stimulus (US) and another stimulus (the CS(-)) was explicitly unpaired with the US. There were no significant differences among these cues in CS(+)-elicited freezing behavior. Thus, the stimuli were equally salient or effective as cues in supporting fear conditioning. When the CS(+) was a 22kHz USV or a similar stimulus, rats discriminated based on the principal frequency and/or the temporal pattern of the stimulus. However, when these same stimuli served as the CS(-), discrimination failed due to generalization from the CS(+). Thus, the stimuli differed markedly in the specificity of conditioning. This strikingly asymmetrical stimulus generalization is a novel bias in discrimination.
Maesani, Andrea; Fernando, Pradeep Ruben; Floreano, Dario
Evolutionary algorithms are widespread heuristic methods inspired by natural evolution to solve difficult problems for which analytical approaches are not suitable. In many domains experimenters are not only interested in discovering optimal solutions, but also in finding the largest number of different solutions satisfying minimal requirements. However, the formulation of an effective performance measure describing these requirements, also known as fitness function, represents a major challenge. The difficulty of combining and weighting multiple problem objectives and constraints of possibly varying nature and scale into a single fitness function often leads to unsatisfactory solutions. Furthermore, selective reproduction of the fittest solutions, which is inspired by competition-based selection in nature, leads to loss of diversity within the evolving population and premature convergence of the algorithm, hindering the discovery of many different solutions. Here we present an alternative abstraction of artificial evolution, which does not require the formulation of a composite fitness function. Inspired from viability theory in dynamical systems, natural evolution and ethology, the proposed method puts emphasis on the elimination of individuals that do not meet a set of changing criteria, which are defined on the problem objectives and constraints. Experimental results show that the proposed method maintains higher diversity in the evolving population and generates more unique solutions when compared to classical competition-based evolutionary algorithms. Our findings suggest that incorporating viability principles into evolutionary algorithms can significantly improve the applicability and effectiveness of evolutionary methods to numerous complex problems of science and engineering, ranging from protein structure prediction to aircraft wing design. PMID:24489790
Dennis, John U.; Krynitsky, Jonathan; Garmendia-Cedillos, Marcial; Swaroop, Kanchan; Malley, James D.; Pajevic, Sinisa; Abuhatzira, Liron; Bustin, Michael; Gillet, Jean-Pierre; Gottesman, Michael M.; Mitchell, James B.; Pohida, Thomas J.
The System for Continuous Observation of Rodents in Home-cage Environment (SCORHE) was developed to demonstrate the viability of compact and scalable designs for quantifying activity levels and behavior patterns for mice housed within a commercial ventilated cage rack. The SCORHE in-rack design provides day- and night-time monitoring with the consistency and convenience of the home-cage environment. The dual-video camera custom hardware design makes efficient use of space, does not require home-cage modification, and is animal-facility user-friendly. Given the system’s low cost and suitability for use in existing vivariums without modification to the animal husbandry procedures or housing setup, SCORHE opens up the potential for the wider use of automated video monitoring in animal facilities. SCORHE’s potential uses include day-to-day health monitoring, as well as advanced behavioral screening and ethology experiments, ranging from the assessment of the short- and long-term effects of experimental cancer treatments to the evaluation of mouse models. When used for phenotyping and animal model studies, SCORHE aims to eliminate the concerns often associated with many mouse-monitoring methods, such as circadian rhythm disruption, acclimation periods, lack of night-time measurements, and short monitoring periods. Custom software integrates two video streams to extract several mouse activity and behavior measures. Studies comparing the activity levels of ABCB5 knockout and HMGN1 overexpresser mice with their respective C57BL parental strains demonstrate SCORHE’s efficacy in characterizing the activity profiles for singly- and doubly-housed mice. Another study was conducted to demonstrate the ability of SCORHE to detect a change in activity resulting from administering a sedative. PMID:24706080
de Haas, Ria; Seddik, Amir; Oppelaar, Hugo; Westenberg, Herman G M; Kas, Martien J H
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic and complex psychiatric disorder with a lifetime prevalence of 2-3%. Recent work has shown that OCD rituals were not only characterized by a high rate of repetition but also by an increased behavioral repertoire due to additional non-functional unique acts. These two behavioral characteristics may provide an ethological basis for studying compulsive behavior in an animal model of OCD. Here, quinpirole induced behavior (so far only investigated in rats) has been studied in A/J and C57BL/6J mice by using behavioral pattern analysis. The aim of this study is to investigate whether genetic background is mediating this behavior. Results showed that open field motor activity levels of saline treated C57BL/6J mice was significantly higher compared to A/J treated saline mice. Long-term quinpirole treatment increased open field motor activity levels in A/J, but not in C57BL/6J. Quinpirole treatment induced a strain dependent difference in behavioral repertoire. There was a dose dependent increase in the number of different behavioral patterns in A/J, whereas, in C57BL/6J there was a dose dependent decrease. This data suggest that genetic background is important in expressing quinpirole induced compulsive like behavior. Following quinpirole treatment, A/J mice express a greater behavioral repertoire with a high rate of repetition. This phenotype resembles that of OCD rituals in patients and indicates that this strain is very interesting to further validate for studying neurobiological mechanisms of compulsive behavior.
Vauclair, Jacques; Donnot, Julien
Since Salk [Salk, L. (1960). The effects of the normal heartbeat sound on the behavior of the new-born infant: implications for mental health. World Mental Health 12, 168-175] reported a left-side preference for cradling an infant, several studies have attempted to elucidate the origin of this bias. Sex and handedness were the first variables tested but none of them is sufficient for explaining this bias. Manning and Chamberlain [Manning, J. T., & Chamberlain, A. T. (1991). Left-side cradling and brain lateralization. Ethology and Sociobiology, 12, 237-244] proposed that the explanation had to do with hemispheric specialization of emotions and suggested that the mother could better monitor her infant's emotional state when holding on the left side than on the right side. Moreover, the infant could monitor its mother's emotional state, since the most expressive side of mother's face (the left) is visible to the infant. We used two Chimeric Figures Tasks in order to assess (1) the preferred visual field for perceiving an emotion and (2) the most expressive side of the face. Holding biases were measured in a concrete situation using an infant doll. Our main objective was to assess the relation between the asymmetric visual perception and the holding direction in a large sample of university students. We replicated a left-holding preference (66%) in our sample and found an effect of participants' holding posture and a limited effect of laterality but no effect of sex. The most significant finding concerns the links between the preferred visual field and the preferred holding side. This effect was observed in the sample of women, in right-handers, and in the sub-group of participants with care-giving skills. These findings suggest a leading role for the right hemisphere for side of holding.
Oliver, Matthew K; Piertney, Stuart B
In so-called model species, such as human and mouse, genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) are characterized by extremely high levels of polymorphism, and it is considered that such diversity is maintained by balancing selection. ;There is now a recognized need to expand studies into nonmodel species to examine whether high MHC diversity is mirrored in natural populations, and to determine the ecological, ethological, and evolutionary processes that underpin balancing selection. To address such issues, a necessary prerequisite is the ability to characterize diversity at a single, expressed, polymorphic MHC locus on which selection may be acting. Here, we provide the first description of allelic diversity at exon 2 of an MHC class II DRB locus in the European water vole (Arvicola terrestris), characterize variation across four natural populations, and test whether the patterns of variation are consistent with the effects of balancing selection. Using single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis and subsequent DNA sequencing of gel excisions, five DRB alleles were resolved, each with a unique amino acid sequence, among 100 individuals from four geographically distinct populations. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction confirmed that the alleles were products from an expressed locus. Intra-allelic amino acid differences were high (10.5-33.3%), and the nonsynonymous substitution rate exceeded the synonymous substitution rate for the functional peptide-binding region (d (N):d (S)=3.91 and P<0.005). Phylogenetic comparison of resolved alleles with closely related homologues indicated that each allele represented a unique lineage preserved across speciation events. These results indicate that balancing selection has maintained diversity of DRB allelic lineages and amino acid function over evolutionary time scales, but may be less effective at preserving alleles in contemporary populations where stochastic microevolutionary processes may
Blackiston, Douglas; Shomrat, Tal; Nicolas, Cindy L.; Granata, Christopher; Levin, Michael
A deep understanding of cognitive processes requires functional, quantitative analyses of the steps leading from genetics and the development of nervous system structure to behavior. Molecularly-tractable model systems such as Xenopus laevis and planaria offer an unprecedented opportunity to dissect the mechanisms determining the complex structure of the brain and CNS. A standardized platform that facilitated quantitative analysis of behavior would make a significant impact on evolutionary ethology, neuropharmacology, and cognitive science. While some animal tracking systems exist, the available systems do not allow automated training (feedback to individual subjects in real time, which is necessary for operant conditioning assays). The lack of standardization in the field, and the numerous technical challenges that face the development of a versatile system with the necessary capabilities, comprise a significant barrier keeping molecular developmental biology labs from integrating behavior analysis endpoints into their pharmacological and genetic perturbations. Here we report the development of a second-generation system that is a highly flexible, powerful machine vision and environmental control platform. In order to enable multidisciplinary studies aimed at understanding the roles of genes in brain function and behavior, and aid other laboratories that do not have the facilities to undergo complex engineering development, we describe the device and the problems that it overcomes. We also present sample data using frog tadpoles and flatworms to illustrate its use. Having solved significant engineering challenges in its construction, the resulting design is a relatively inexpensive instrument of wide relevance for several fields, and will accelerate interdisciplinary discovery in pharmacology, neurobiology, regenerative medicine, and cognitive science. PMID:21179424
Historians of science have only just begun to sample the wealth of different approaches to the study of animal behavior undertaken in the twentieth century. To date, more attention has been given to Lorenzian ethology and American behaviorism than to other work and traditions, but different approaches are equally worthy of the historian's attention, reflecting not only the broader range of questions that could be asked about animal behavior and the "animal mind" but also the different contexts in which these questions were important. One such approach is that represented by the work of the French zoologist Louis Boutan (1859-1934). This paper explores the intellectual and cultural history of Boutan's work on animal language and the animal mind, and contextualizes the place of animal behavior studies within late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century French biology. I explore the ways in which Boutan addressed the philosophical issue of whether language was necessary for abstract thought and show how he shifted from the idea that animals were endowed with a purely affective language to the notion that of they were capable of "rudimentary" reasoning. I argue that the scientific and broader socio-cultural contexts in which Boutan operated played a role in this transition. Then I show how Boutan's linguistic and psychological experiments with a gibbon and children provide insights into his conception of "naturalness." Although Boutan reared his gibbon at home and studied it in the controlled environment of his laboratory, he continued to identify its behavior as "natural." I specifically demonstrate the importance of the milieu of the French Third Republic in shaping Boutan's understanding not only of animal intelligence and child education, but also his definition of nature. Finally, I argue that Boutan's studies on the primate mind provide us with a lens through which we can examine the co-invention of animal and child psychology in early-twentieth-century France.
Background The development of ethologically meaningful test paradigms in young animals is an essential step in the study of the ontogeny of animal personality. Here we explore the possibility to integrate offspring separation (distress) calls into the study of consistent individual differences in behaviour in two species of mammals, the domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) and the mound-building mouse (Mus spicilegus). Such vocal responses in young mammals are a potentially useful test option as they represent an important element of mother-offspring communication with strong implications for offspring survival. In addition, the neural control of vocalisation is closely associated with emotional state. Results We found marked similarities in the pattern of individual responses of the young of both species to separation from their mother and littermates. In the domestic cat as well as in the mound-building mouse, individual differences in the frequency of calls and to a lesser extent in locomotor activity were repeatable across age, indicating the existence of personality types. Such consistencies across age were also apparent when only considering relative individual differences among litter siblings. In both species, however, individual patterns of vocalisation and locomotor activity were unrelated. This suggests that these two forms of behavioural responses to isolation represent different domains of personality, presumably based on different underlying neurophysiological mechanisms. Conclusions Brief separation experiments in young mammals, and particularly the measurement of separation calls, provide a promising approach to study the ontogeny of personality traits. Future long-term studies are needed to investigate the association of these traits with biologically meaningful and potentially repeatable elements of behaviour during later life. PMID:26816512
Zheng, He J. V.; Wang, Qi
One embodiment of context-dependent sensory processing is bottom-up adaptation, where persistent stimuli decrease neuronal firing rate over hundreds of milliseconds. Adaptation is not, however, simply the fatigue of the sensory pathway, but shapes the information flow and selectivity to stimulus features. Adaptation enhances spatial discriminability (distinguishing stimulus location) while degrading detectability (reporting presence of the stimulus), for both the ideal observer of the cortex and awake, behaving animals. However, how the dynamics of the adaptation shape the cortical response and this detection and discrimination tradeoff is unknown, as is to what degree this phenomenon occurs on a continuum as opposed to a switching of processing modes. Using voltage-sensitive dye imaging in anesthetized rats to capture the temporal and spatial characteristics of the cortical response to tactile inputs, we showed that the suppression of the cortical response, in both magnitude and spatial spread, is continuously modulated by the increasing amount of energy in the adapting stimulus, which is nonuniquely determined by its frequency and velocity. Single-trial ideal observer analysis demonstrated a tradeoff between detectability and spatial discriminability up to a moderate amount of adaptation, which corresponds to the frequency range in natural whisking. This was accompanied by a decrease in both detectability and discriminability with high-energy adaptation, which indicates a more complex coupling between detection and discrimination than a simple switching of modes. Taken together, the results suggest that adaptation operates on a continuum and modulates the tradeoff between detectability and discriminability that has implications for information processing in ethological contexts. PMID:25787959
Adamec, Robert; Walling, Sue; Burton, Paul
Lasting increases in anxiety-like behavior (ALB) are produced by brief exposure of rats to a cat [Adamec RE, Shallow T, Lasting effects on rodent anxiety of a single exposure to a cat, Physiol. Behav., 54 (1993) 101-109.]. Mice also respond defensively to natural predator stimuli. Moreover, chronic exposure of mice to rat odor has immediate anxiogenic effects in plus maze and lasting (7 days) and effects on acoustic startle. The present study examined the lasting (7 days) after effects on ALB of a brief unprotected exposure of male CFW mice to a cat. Lasting effects on ALB of exposure to the cat exposure room were also assessed. Effects on behavior were studied in the hole board and elevated plus-maze (EPM). An ethological analysis of behavior revealed that risk assessment in the EPM was increased the most in predator-stressed mice. Mice exposed to the cat exposure room showed increased risk assessment falling between controls and cat exposed mice. Behavior in the hole board was unaffected, as were most other behaviors in the plus maze. Factor analysis revealed independence of risk assessment from other measures of ALB, activity and exploration, consistent with findings in rats. Aspects of the stress experience were highly predictive of later response to the cat. Cat biting and pawing, mouse fleeing and mouse weight measured at the time of cat exposure together accounted for 71% of the variance of risk assessment in cat exposed mice. The significance of these findings for vulnerability to cat predator stress of mice and for the use of predator stress in mice as a model of aspects of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are discussed.
Hawley, Darby F; Leasure, J Leigh
The objective of the present study was to determine whether chronic unpredictable stress (CUS) would induce hippocampal neuroplasticity in a region-specific manner. Recent evidence suggests that the hippocampus has two functionally distinct subsections. The dorsal (septal) portion appears to be primarily associated with spatial navigation, while the ventral (temporal) region has been linked to affect-related functions, such as anxiety. Chronic stress has previously been shown to negatively affect the hippocampus by decreasing survival of progenitor cells, although it has also been shown to increase adaptive responses, such as increased expression of neuropeptide Y (NPY) and ΔFosB. Whether such events occur in a region-specific manner has not been investigated. We hypothesized that CUS would selectively impact cell survival, NPY, and ΔFosB expression in the more affect-related ventral subregion. Individually housed Long-Evans rats (n = 31) were divided into two groups: stressed and control. Stressed animals were exposed daily to an unpredictable schedule of ethologically relevant stressors, such as predator odors, forced swim, and open field exposure. All rats were injected with bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) daily during the first 5 days of CUS in order to label dividing progenitor cells. Unbiased stereology was used to quantify BrdU+, NPY+, and ΔFosB+ cells in dorsal and ventral hippocampal subregions. In support of our hypothesis, we found that CUS selectively decreased cell survival in the ventral subregion. However, both NPY and ΔFosB were significantly increased only in the dorsal hippocampus. These results suggest that stress-induced adaptive neuroplasticity occurs primarily in the dorsal subregion, which may coincide with behavioral aspects of the stress response, such as avoidance or amelioration of the stressor.
Bell, Rob; Duke, Aaron A.; Gilmore, Paula E.; Page, Deaglan; Bègue, Laurent
The present study examined the effects of administering selective 5-HT antagonists and agonists to rats tested in the elevated zero-maze (EZM) model of anxiety. The EZM paradigm has advantages over the elevated plus-maze (EPM) paradigm with respect to measuring anxiety, yet has been utilized less frequently. Three experiments were conducted each with a diazepam control (0.25, 0.5 and 0.75 mg/kg). In the first experiment, we administered the 5-HT2C antagonist RS 102221 (0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 mg/kg) and 5-HT2C agonist MK-212 (0.25, 0.5 and 0.75 mg/kg); in the second experiment, we administered the 5-HT3 antagonist Y-25130 (0.1, 1.0 and 3.0 mg/kg) and 5-HT3 agonist SR 57227A (0.1, 1.0 and 3.0 mg/kg), and in the third experiment, we administered the 5-HT4 antagonist RS 39604 (0.01, 0.1, 1.0 mg/kg) and 5-HT4 agonist RS 67333 (0.01, 0.1 and 0.5 mg/kg). The administration of 5-HT2/3/4 subtype antagonists all generated behavioral profiles indicative of anxiolytic-like effects in the EZM, which was apparent from examination of both traditional and ethological measures. While little effect was observed from 5-HT2 and 5-HT3 agonists, the 5-HT4 agonist RS 67333 was found to produce a paradoxical anxiolytic-like effect similar to that produced by the 5-HT4 antagonist RS 39604. We conclude by discussing the implications of these findings. PMID:24457553
Campos, Kelciane Ferreira Caetano; Amaral, Vanessa Cristiane Santana; Rico, Javier Leonardo; Miguel, Tarciso Tadeu; Nunes-de-Souza, Ricardo Luiz
The rat exposure test (RET) is a prey (mouse)-predator (rat) situation that activates brain defensive areas and elicits hormonal and defensive behavior in the mouse. Here, we investigated possible correlations between the spatiotemporal [time spent in protected (home chamber and tunnel) and unprotected (surface) compartments and frequency of entries into the three compartments] and ethological [e.g., duration of protected and unprotected stretched-attend postures (SAP), duration of contact with the rat's compartment] measures (Experiment 1). Secondly, we investigated the effects of systemic treatment with pro- or anti-aversive drugs on the behavior that emerged from the factor analysis (Experiment 2). The effects of chronic (21 days) imipramine and fluoxetine on defensive behavior were also investigated (Experiment 3). Exp. 1 revealed that the time in the protected compartment, protected SAP and rat contacts loaded on factor 1 (defensive behavior), while the total entries and unprotected SAP loaded on factor 2 (locomotor activity). Exp. 2 showed that alprazolam (but not diazepam) selectively changed the defensive factor. Caffeine produced a mild proaversive-like effect, whereas yohimbine only decreased locomotor activity (total entries). Fluoxetine (but not imipramine) produced a weak proaversive-like effect. 5-HT(1A)/5-HT(2) receptor ligands did not change any behavioral measure. In Exp. 3, chronic fluoxetine (but not imipramine) attenuated the defensive behavior factor without changing locomotion. Given that the defensive factor was sensitive to drugs known to attenuate (alprazolam and chronic fluoxetine) and induce (caffeine) panic attack, we suggest the RET as a useful test to assess the effects of panicolytic and panicogenic drugs.
Es'kov, E K; Es'kova, M D
High variability of cells size is used selectively for reproduction of working bees and drones. A decrease in both distance between cells and cells size themselves causes similar effects to body mass and morphometric traits of developing individuals. Adaptation of honey bees to living in shelters has led to their becoming tolerant to hypoxia. Improvement of ethological and physiological mechanisms of thermal regulation is associated with limitation of ecological valence and acquiring of stenothermic features by breed. Optimal thermal conditions for breed are limited by the interval 33-34.5 degrees C. Deviations of temperature by 3-4 degrees C beyond this range have minimum lethal effect at embryonic stage of development and medium effect at the stage of pre-pupa and pupa. Developing at the low bound of the vital range leads to increasing, while developing at the upper bound--to decreasing of body mass, mandibular and hypopharyngeal glands, as well as other organs, which, later, affects the variability of these traits during the adult stage of development. Eliminative and teratogenic efficiency of ecological factors that affect a breed is most often manifested in underdevelopment of wings. However, their size (in case of wing laminas formation). is characterized by relatively low variability and size-dependent asymmetry. Asymmetry variability of wings and other pair organs is expressed through realignment of size excess from right- to left-side one with respect to their increase. Selective elimination by those traits whose emerging probability increases as developmental conditions deviate from the optimal ones promotes restrictions on individual variability. Physiological mechanisms that facilitate adaptability enhancement under conditions of increasing anthropogenic contamination of eivironment and trophic substrates consumed by honey bees, arrear to be toxicants accumulation in rectum and crops' ability to absorb contaminants from nectar in course of its
Cortis, P.; Vereecken, N. J.; Schiestl, F. P.; Barone Lumaga, M. R.; Scrugli, A.; Cozzolino, S.
Background and Aims In the sexually deceptive Ophrys genus, species isolation is generally considered ethological and occurs via different, specific pollinators, but there are cases in which Ophrys species can share a common pollinator and differ in pollen placement on the body of the insect. In that condition, species are expected to be reproductively isolated through a pre-mating mechanical barrier. Here, the relative contribution of pre- vs. post-mating barriers to gene flow among two Ophrys species that share a common pollinator and can occur in sympatry is studied. Methods A natural hybrid zone on Sardinia between O. iricolor and O. incubacea, sharing Andrena morio as pollinator, was investigated by analysing floral traits involved in pollinator attraction as odour extracts both for non-active and active compounds and for labellum morphology. The genetic architecture of the hybrid zone was also estimated with amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers, and pollination fitness and seed set of both parental species and their hybrids in the sympatric zone were estimated by controlled crosses. Key Results Although hybrids were intermediate between parental species in labellum morphology and non-active odour compounds, both parental species and hybrids produced a similar odour bouquet for active compounds. However, hybrids produced significantly lower fruit and seed set than parental species, and the genetic architecture of the hybrid zone suggests that they were mostly first-generation hybrids. Conclusions The two parental species hybridize in sympatry as a consequence of pollinator overlap and weak mechanical isolation, but post-zygotic barriers reduce hybrid frequency and fitness, and prevent extensive introgression. These results highlight a significant contribution of late post-mating barriers, such as chromosomal divergence, for maintaining reproductive isolation, in an orchid group for which pre-mating barriers are often considered predominant
Meirsman, Aura Carole; Robé, Anne
Abstract GPR88 is an orphan G-protein-coupled receptor highly expressed in striatal dopamine D1 (receptor) R- and D2R-expressing medium spiny neurons. This receptor is involved in activity and motor responses, and we previously showed that this receptor also regulates anxiety-like behaviors. To determine whether GPR88 in D2R-expressing neurons contributes to this emotional phenotype, we generated conditional Gpr88 knock-out mice using adenosine A2AR (A2AR)-Cre-driven recombination, and compared anxiety-related responses in both total and A2AR-Gpr88 KO mice. A2AR-Gpr88 KO mice showed a selective reduction of Gpr88 mRNA in D2R-expressing, but not D1R-expressing, neurons. These mutant mice showed increased locomotor activity and decreased anxiety-like behaviors in light/dark and elevated plus maze tests. These phenotypes were superimposable on those observed in total Gpr88 KO mice, demonstrating that the previously reported anxiogenic activity of GPR88 operates at the level of A2AR-expressing neurons. Further, A2AR-Gpr88 KO mice showed no change in novelty preference and novelty-suppressed feeding, while these responses were increased and decreased, respectively, in the total Gpr88 KO mice. Also, A2AR-Gpr88 KO mice showed intact fear conditioning, while the fear responses were decreased in total Gpr88 KO. We therefore also show for the first time that GPR88 activity regulates approach behaviors and conditional fear; however, these behaviors do not seem mediated by receptors in A2AR neurons. We conclude that Gpr88 expressed in A2AR neurons enhances ethological anxiety-like behaviors without affecting conflict anxiety and fear responses. PMID:27570825
Davis, Audrey; Abraham, Emily; McEvoy, Erin; Sonnenfeld, Sarah; Lewis, Christine; Hubbard, Catherine S; Dolence, E Kurt; Rose, James D; Coddington, Emma
In rough-skinned newts, Taricha granulosa, exposure to an acute stressor results in the rapid release of corticosterone (CORT), which suppresses the ability of vasotocin (VT) to enhance clasping behavior. CORT also suppresses VT-induced spontaneous activity and sensory responsiveness of clasp-controlling neurons in the rostromedial reticular formation (Rf). The cellular mechanisms underlying this interaction remain unclear. We hypothesized that CORT blocks VT-enhanced clasping by interfering with V1a receptor availability and/or VT-induced endocytosis. We administered a physiologically active fluorescent VT conjugated to Oregon Green (VT-OG) to the fourth ventricle 9 min after an intraperitoneal injection of CORT (0, 10, 40 μg/0.1mL amphibian Ringers). The brains were collected 30 min post-VT-OG, fixed, and imaged with confocal microscopy. CORT diminished the number of endocytosed vesicles, percent area containing VT-OG, sum intensity of VT-OG, and the amount of VT-V1a within each vesicle; indicating that CORT was interfering with V1a receptor availability and VT-V1a receptor-mediated endocytosis. CORT actions were brain location-specific and season-dependent in a manner that is consistent with the natural and context-dependent expression of clasping behavior. Furthermore, the sensitivity of the Rf to CORT was much higher in animals during the breeding season, arguing for ethologically appropriate seasonal variation in CORT's ability to prevent VT-induced endocytosis. Our data are consistent with the time course and interaction effects of CORT and VT on clasping behavior and neurophysiology. CORT interference with VT-induced endocytosis may be a common mechanism employed by hormones across taxa for mediating rapid context- and season-specific behavioral responses.
Sengupta, Asmita; McConkey, Kim R.; Radhakrishna, Sindhu
Human provisioning of wildlife with food is a widespread global practice that occurs in multiple socio-cultural circumstances. Provisioning may indirectly alter ecosystem functioning through changes in the eco-ethology of animals, but few studies have quantified this aspect. Provisioning of primates by humans is known to impact their activity budgets, diets and ranging patterns. Primates are also keystone species in tropical forests through their role as seed dispersers; yet there is no information on how provisioning might affect primate ecological functions. The rhesus macaque is a major human-commensal species but is also an important seed disperser in the wild. In this study, we investigated the potential impacts of provisioning on the role of rhesus macaques as seed dispersers in the Buxa Tiger Reserve, India. We studied a troop of macaques which were provisioned for a part of the year and were dependent on natural resources for the rest. We observed feeding behaviour, seed handling techniques and ranging patterns of the macaques and monitored availability of wild fruits. Irrespective of fruit availability, frugivory and seed dispersal activities decreased when the macaques were provisioned. Provisioned macaques also had shortened daily ranges implying shorter dispersal distances. Finally, during provisioning periods, seeds were deposited on tarmac roads that were unconducive for germination. Provisioning promotes human-primate conflict, as commensal primates are often involved in aggressive encounters with humans over resources, leading to negative consequences for both parties involved. Preventing or curbing provisioning is not an easy task as feeding wild animals is a socio-cultural tradition across much of South and South-East Asia, including India. We recommend the initiation of literacy programmes that educate lay citizens about the ill-effects of provisioning and strongly caution them against the practice. PMID:26536365
Genné-Bacon, Elizabeth A.; Trinko, Joseph R.; DiLeone, Ralph J.
Regulation of body weight is an important strategy for small prey animals to avoid capture. Field and laboratory studies have shown that prey animals reduce body size when subjected to long-term predator stimuli. However, the causes of predator-induced weight regulation are highly variable and the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Understanding this phenomenon is important for gaining a better understanding of how animals regulate body weight under ethologically relevant conditions and has implications for obesity. Here we expose inbred C57BL/6J mice to a fear-inducing odorant (2,4,5-trimethylthiazole; mT) to model predation-induced weight regulation. Eight week-old mice were put on a 45% high fat diet (HFD) or chow diet (5% fat) and exposed daily to mT, an equally aversive dose of butyric acid (BA), or a neutral control scent (almond). mT-exposed mice in both diet groups gained significantly less weight over a 6-week period than BA-exposed mice. This differential weight gain appears unlikely to be due to differences in food intake and activity level, or brown adipose thermogenesis between the mT and BA groups. However, following chronic mT exposure we find increases in ΔFosB protein, a marker for long-term neural plasticity, in the dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH)—an area previously implicated in chronic stress and defensive responses, as well as weight regulation. This study establishes a simplified and robust laboratory model of predation-mediated weight regulation with inbred lab mice and fear-inducing odor, and suggests a likely, yet undetermined, metabolic adaptation as contributing to this response. PMID:27458352
Suske, A; Pöschke, A; Müller, P; Wöber, S; Staszyk, C
Incomplete cemental filling of the infundibula of equine maxillary cheek teeth (CT) is a common feature. Depending on the extent of the defect, three stages of infundibular decay have been suggested. However, histomorphological criteria to identify non-pathological abnormalities and destructive changes have not been defined. Six hundred and eighty eight CT with no evidence of dental diseases and 55 diseased permanent, fully erupted maxillary CT were evaluated on a macroscopic level by assessing the occlusal surface and horizontal sections, including porphyrin assays to detect residual blood within the infundibular cementum. Selected specimens were investigated on a microscopic level using routine and immunohistological staining methods to identify possible routes for the spread of infectious agents from the infundibulum into the endodontic system. Infundibular cemental hypoplasia was defined as a non-pathological developmental abnormality and was detected in >50% of CT with no evidence of dental diseases and in >70% of diseased CT. The first molar (Triadan 09) showed the highest prevalence (75%) of infundibular cemental hypoplasia. The mesial infundibulum was more often affected than the distal infundibulum. Infundibular erosion was considered as the most appropriate term to describe destructive infundibular changes. Infundibular erosion was present in <6% of CT with no evidence of dental diseases, but was detected in >27% of diseased teeth, always accompanied by endodontic disease. This suggests that teeth affected by infundibular cemental hypoplasia are prone to destructive erosion, which possibly leads to endodontic disease. Morphological factors that supplement this ethological hypothesis were described. In 74% of infundibula residual blood was identified, although no vital blood vessels were detected. It is assumed that this content of blood remained in the ample infundibular cemental blood system after tooth eruption and creates a favorable environment for
Mangano, M.G.; Buatois, L.A.; Maples, C.G.; Lanier, Wendy E.
Upper Carboniferous tidal rhythmites of the Tonganoxie Sandstone Member (Stranger Formation) at Buildex Quarry, eastern Kansas, USA, host a relatively diverse arthropod-dominated ichnofauna. Bilaterally symmetrical traces displaying unique anterior and posterior sets of morphological features are well represented within the assemblage. A new ichnogenus, Tonganoxichnus, is proposed for these traces. T. buildexensis, the type ichnospecies, has an anterior region characterized by the presence of a frontal pair of maxillary palp impressions, followed by a head impression and three pairs of conspicuous thoracic appendage imprints symmetrically opposite along a median axis. The posterior region commonly exhibits numerous delicate chevron-like markings, recording the abdominal appendages, and a thin, straight, terminal extension. T. buildexensis is interpreted as a resting trace. A second ichnospecies, T. ottawensis, is characterized by a fan-like arrangement of mostly bifid scratch marks at the anterior area that records the head- and thoracic-appendage backstrokes against the substrate. The posterior area shows chevron-like markings or small subcircular impressions that record the abdominal appendages of the animal, also ending in a thin, straight, terminal extension. Specimens display lateral repetition, and are commonly grouped into twos or threes with a fix point at the posteriormost tail-like structure. T. ottawensis is interpreted as a jumping structure, probably in connection with feeding purposes. The two ichnospecies occur in close association, and share sufficient morphologic features to support the same type of arthropod producer. T. buildexensis closely mimics the ventral anatomy of the tracemaker, whereas T. ottawensis records the jumping abilities of the animal providing significant ethologic and paleoecologic information. The presence of well-differentiated cephalic, thoracic, and abdominal features, particularly in T. buildexensis, resembles the
Qiu, Xuan; Huang, Chun-Xia; Lu, Wei; Yang, Shu; Li, Chen; Shi, Xiao-Yan; Chen, Lin; Xiu, Yun; Yang, Jun-Qing; Tang, Yong
An enriched environment has been shown to enhance learning and memory and to induce morphological changes in the hippocampus. In the present study, 14-month (middle-aged) female and male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into enriched environment (EE) rats and standard environment (SE) rats. EE rats were reared in an enriched environment and SE rats were reared in a standard environment for 4 months. The spatial learning capacity was assessed with Morris water maze. The hippocampus and the myelinated fibers in the rat hippocampus were quantitatively investigated with a transmission electronic microscope technique and stereological methods. The female rats housed in an enriched environment showed improved performance in the Morris water maze. There was no significant difference in the total volume of hippocampus between SE rats and EE rats. The total length and total volume of the myelinated fibers in the hippocampus of the female and male EE rats were significantly increased, respectively, when compared to the female and male SE rats. The increase of the total length of the myelinated nerve fibers in the hippocampus was mainly due to the increase of the myelinated fibers with diameters from 0.5 to 0.9 μm. Our results showed that a 4 month enriched environment had significant effects on the spatial learning capacity and the myelinated fibers in the hippocampus of middle-aged rats. The present study might provide an important theoretical basis for searching for an ethological strategy to delay the progress of brain aging in the future.
Qiu, Xuan; Li, Chen; Jiang, Rong; Chen, Lin; Huang, Chunxia; Yang, Shu; Lu, Wei; Shi, Xiaoyan; Zhao, Yuanyu; Gao, Yuan; Cheng, Guohua; Tang, Yong
There has been no study investigating the effects of enriched environment on the capillaries of cortex with new stereological methods. In the present study, both 14 month female and male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into enriched environment (EE) rats and standard environment (SE) rats. EE rats were reared in enriched environment and SE rats were reared in standard environment for 4 months. The effects of short-term enriched environment on the cortex volume and on the total volume, total length, total surface area and mean diameter of the capillaries in the cortex of mid-aged Sprague-Dawley rats were quantitatively investigated with immunohistochemistry technique and unbiased stereological methods. There were no significant differences in the cortex volume, the total length and total surface area of the capillaries in the cortex between EE rats and SE rats. The total volume of the capillaries in the cortex of female EE rats and male EE rats was significantly increased when compared to female SE rats and male SE rats. The mean diameter of the capillaries in the cortex of female EE rats was significantly decreased when compared to that in female SE rats, but there was no significant difference in the mean diameter of the capillaries in the cortex between male EE rats and male SE rats. The present results indicate that enriched environment had a positive effect on the capillaries in the cortex of middle-aged rats. The present study might provide an important morphological basis for searching the ethology strategy to delay the progress of brain aging in the future.
Grayson, Ben; Leger, Marianne; Piercy, Chloe; Adamson, Lisa; Harte, Michael; Neill, Joanna C
The novel object recognition test (NOR) test is a two trial cognitive paradigm that assesses recognition memory. Recognition memory is disturbed in a range of human disorders and NOR is widely used in rodents for investigating deficits in a variety of animal models of human conditions where cognition is impaired. It possesses several advantages over more complex tasks that involve lengthy training procedures and/or food or water deprivation. It is quick to administer, non-rewarded, provides data quickly, cost effective and most importantly, ethologically relevant as it relies on the animal's natural preference for novelty. A PubMed search revealed over 900 publications in rats and mice using this task over the past 3 years with 34 reviews in the past 10 years, demonstrating its increasing popularity with neuroscientists. Although it is widely used in many disparate areas of research, no articles have systematically examined this to date, which is the subject of our review. We reveal that NOR may be used to study recognition memory deficits that occur in Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia, where research is extensive, in Parkinson's disease and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) where we observed markedly reduced numbers of publications. In addition, we review the use of NOR to study cognitive deficits induced by traumatic brain injury and cancer chemotherapy, not disorders per se, but situations in which cognitive deficits dramatically reduce the quality of life for those affected, see Fig. 1 for a summary. Our review reveals that, in all these animal models, the NOR test is extremely useful for identification of the cognitive deficits observed, their neural basis, and for testing the efficacy of novel therapeutic agents. Our conclusion is that NOR is of considerable value for cognitive researchers of all disciplines and we anticipate that its use will continue to increase due to its versatility and several other advantages, as detailed in this review.
Evolutionary change is a product of selection. Selection operates on the phenotype, and its consequences are manifest in representation of the genotype in successive generations. Of particular interest to both evolutionary and behavioral biologists is the newly emerging field of epigenetics and behavior. Two broad categories of epigenetic modifications must be distinguished. Context-Dependent epigenetic change can be observed if the environmental factors that bring about the epigenetic modification persists (e.g., the frequency and quality of maternal care modifying the brain and future behavior of the offspring each generation). Because the environment induces epiallelic change, removing the causative factor can reverse a Context-Dependent epigenetic state. Germline-Dependent epigenetic change occurs when the epigenetic imprint is mediated through the germline. Such effects are independent of the causative agent and there is no evidence at present that a Germline-Dependent epigenetic state can be reversed. Finally, only Germline-Dependent epigenetic modifications can be truly transgenerational. Although an individual’s life history is progressive and continuous, it might usefully be viewed as the cumulation of divisions; each period emerging from what has gone before and, at the same time, setting the stage for what follows. These life history stages are somewhat arbitrary, with many traits spanning conventional divisions, but each period tends to have its own characteristic ethologies and particular contribution to neural and behavioral phenotypes. To understand how theses episodes ‘fit’ together, it is necessary to deconstruct early life events and study each period both in its’ own right and how it interacts with the preceding and subsequent stages. Lastly, it seems intuitive that Germline-Dependent and Context-Dependent epigenetic modifications interact, resulting in the individual variation observed in behaviors, but until now this hypothesis has
Pecora, Giulia; Addessi, Elsa; Schino, Gabriele; Bellagamba, Francesca
Displacement activities are commonly recognized as behavioral patterns, mostly including self-directed actions (e.g., scratching, self-touching), that often occur in situations involving conflicting motivational tendencies. In ethology, several researchers have suggested that displacement activities could facilitate individuals in dealing with the stress experienced in a frustrating context. In child developmental research, some authors have assessed whether distraction strategies could help children to inhibit a dominant response during delay of gratification tasks. However, little is known about the displacement activities that young children may produce in such situations. This study was aimed at investigating whether displacement activities had an effect on preschool children's ability to postpone an immediate gratification (i.e., interacting with an attractive toy, a musical box), thereby functioning as regulators of their emotional state. To this end, we administered 143 2- to 4-year-olds with a delay maintenance task and related their performance with displacement activities they produced during the task and with actions with an external object. Children's latency to touch the musical box was positively related to their rate of displacement activities. However, the rate of displacement activities increased progressively as long as the children were able to inhibit the interaction with the musical box. In addition, the rate of displacement activities during the first 1 min of test did not predict the ability of children to inhibit the interaction with the box. These results suggest that displacement activities represented a functionless by-product of motivational conflict rather than a strategy that children used to inhibit their response to an attractive stimulus.
Ventouras, Errikos-Chaim; Margariti, Alexia; Chondraki, Paraskevi; Kalatzis, Ioannis; Economou, Nicholas-Tiberio; Tsekou, Hara; Paparrigopoulos, Thomas; Ktonas, Periklis
Primitive expression (PE) is a form of dance therapy (DT) that involves an interaction of ethologically and socially based forms which are supplied for re-enactment. There exist very few studies of DT applications including in their protocol the measurement of neurophysiological parameters. The present pilot study investigates the use of the correlation coefficient (ρ) and mutual information (MI), and of novel measures extracted from ρ and MI, on electroencephalographic (EEG) data recorded in patients with schizophrenia while they undergo PE DT, in order to expand the set of neurophysiology-based approaches for quantifying possible DT effects, using parameters that might provide insights about any potential brain connectivity changes in these patients during the PE DT process. Indication is provided for an acute potentiation effect, apparent at late-stage PE DT, on the inter-hemispheric connectivity in frontal areas, as well as for attenuation of the inter-hemispheric connectivity of left frontal and right central areas and for potentiation of the intra-hemispheric connectivity of frontal and central areas, bilaterally, in the transition from early to late-stage PE DT. This pilot study indicates that by using EEG connectivity measures based on ρ and MI, the set of useful neurophysiology-based approaches for quantifying possible DT effects is expanded. In the framework of the present study, the causes of the observed connectivity changes cannot be attributed with certainty to PE DT, but indications are provided that these measures may contribute to a detailed assessment of neurophysiological mechanisms possibly being affected by this therapeutic process.
Larrañaga, Ana; Bielza, Concha; Pongrácz, Péter; Faragó, Tamás; Bálint, Anna; Larrañaga, Pedro
Barking is perhaps the most characteristic form of vocalization in dogs; however, very little is known about its role in the intraspecific communication of this species. Besides the obvious need for ethological research, both in the field and in the laboratory, the possible information content of barks can also be explored by computerized acoustic analyses. This study compares four different supervised learning methods (naive Bayes, classification trees, [Formula: see text]-nearest neighbors and logistic regression) combined with three strategies for selecting variables (all variables, filter and wrapper feature subset selections) to classify Mudi dogs by sex, age, context and individual from their barks. The classification accuracy of the models obtained was estimated by means of [Formula: see text]-fold cross-validation. Percentages of correct classifications were 85.13 % for determining sex, 80.25 % for predicting age (recodified as young, adult and old), 55.50 % for classifying contexts (seven situations) and 67.63 % for recognizing individuals (8 dogs), so the results are encouraging. The best-performing method was [Formula: see text]-nearest neighbors following a wrapper feature selection approach. The results for classifying contexts and recognizing individual dogs were better with this method than they were for other approaches reported in the specialized literature. This is the first time that the sex and age of domestic dogs have been predicted with the help of sound analysis. This study shows that dog barks carry ample information regarding the caller's indexical features. Our computerized analysis provides indirect proof that barks may serve as an important source of information for dogs as well.
Williamson, Cait M; Romeo, Russell D; Curley, James P
Social competence - the ability of animals to dynamically adjust their social behavior dependent on the current social context - is fundamental to the successful establishment and maintenance of social relationships in group-living species. The social opportunity paradigm, where animals rapidly ascend a social hierarchy following the removal of more dominant individuals, is a well-established approach for studying the neural and neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying socially competent behavior. In the current study, we demonstrate that this paradigm can be successfully adapted for studying socially competent behavior in laboratory mice. Replicating our previous reports, we show that male laboratory mice housed in a semi-natural environment form stable linear social hierarchies. Novel to the current study, we find that subdominant male mice immediately respond to the removal of the alpha male from a hierarchy by initiating a dramatic increase in aggressive behavior towards more subordinate individuals. Consequently, subdominants assume the role of the alpha male. Analysis of brain gene expression in individuals 1h following social ascent indicates elevated gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) mRNA levels in the medial preoptic area (mPOA) of the hypothalamus compared to individuals that do not experience a social opportunity. Moreover, hormonal analyses indicate that subdominant individuals have increased circulating plasma testosterone levels compared to subordinate individuals. Our findings demonstrate that male mice are able to dynamically and rapidly adjust both behavior and neuroendocrine function in response to changes in social context. Further, we establish the social opportunity paradigm as an ethologically relevant approach for studying social competence and behavioral plasticity in mammals.
Yuan, Robin K.; Hebert, Jenna C.; Thomas, Arthur S.; Wann, Ellen G.; Muzzio, Isabel A.
Although predator odors are ethologically relevant stimuli for rodents, the molecular pathways and contribution of some brain regions involved in predator odor conditioning remain elusive. Inhibition of histone deacetylases (HDACs) in the dorsal hippocampus has been shown to enhance shock-induced contextual fear learning, but it is unknown if HDACs have differential effects along the dorso-ventral hippocampal axis during predator odor fear learning. We injected MS-275, a class I HDAC inhibitor, bilaterally in the dorsal or ventral hippocampus of mice and found that it had no effects on innate anxiety in either region. We then assessed the effects of MS-275 at different stages of fear learning along the longitudinal hippocampal axis. Animals were injected with MS-275 or vehicle after context pre-exposure (pre-conditioning injections), when a representation of the context is first formed, or after exposure to coyote urine (post-conditioning injections), when the context becomes associated with predator odor. When MS-275 was administered after context pre-exposure, dorsally injected animals showed enhanced fear in the training context but were able to discriminate it from a neutral environment. Conversely, ventrally injected animals did not display enhanced learning in the training context but generalized the fear response to a neutral context. However, when MS-275 was administered after conditioning, there were no differences between the MS-275 and vehicle control groups in either the dorsal or ventral hippocampus. Surprisingly, all groups displayed generalization to a neutral context, suggesting that predator odor exposure followed by a mild stressor such as restraint leads to fear generalization. These results may elucidate distinct functions of the dorsal and ventral hippocampus in predator odor-induced fear conditioning as well as some of the molecular mechanisms underlying fear generalization. PMID:26441495
Sweeney, Fabian F; O'Leary, Olivia F; Cryan, John F
Although the underlying pathophysiology of anxiety disorders is unknown it is clear that a combination of genetic and environmental factors in early life predispose to disease risk. Preclinical research increasingly suggests an important role for the GABAB receptor in modulating anxiety behaviour, with GABAB receptor deficient mice having increased anxiety behaviour. Previous studies have highlighted critical windows during development where adult anxiety behaviour is primed. However, little is known regarding the role played by the GABAB receptors in the developmental processes that underlie adult anxiety behaviour. To this end, we treated male BALB/c mouse pups with the either the selective GABAB receptor agonist, R-baclofen (2 mg/kg, s.c), the GABAB receptor antagonist CGP 52432 (10 mg/kg and 30 mg/kg) or vehicle from postnatal days (P) 14-28. The anxiety behaviour of these mice was then assessed in adulthood (P62 onwards) in a battery of behavioural tests comprising; the stress induced hyperthermia (SIH) test, defensive marble burying (DMB), elevated-plus maze (EPM) and the forced swim test (FST). Postnatal R-baclofen treatment resulted in increased anxiety-like behaviour in the EPM as shown by approach-avoidance and ethological measures. Other behavioural measures were not significantly altered. Interestingly, blockade of GABAB receptors with CGP52432 in early life caused no alterations in emotional behaviour. These data suggest that during early life GABAB receptor signalling can play a functional role in programing anxiety behaviour in adulthood. The underlying neurodevelopmental processes underlying these effects remain to be discovered.
Stahlschmidt, Zachary R.
Parental care (any non-genetic contribution by a parent that appears likely to increase the fitness of its offspring) is a widespread trait exhibited by a broad range of animal taxa. In addition to influencing the fitness of parent(s) and offspring, parental care may be inextricably involved in other evolutionary processes, such as sexual selection and the evolution of endothermy. Yet, recent work has demonstrated that bias related to taxonomy is prevalent across many biological disciplines, and research in parental care may be similarly burdened. Thus, I used parental care articles published in six leading journals of fundamental behavioral sciences (Animal Behaviour, Behavioral Ecology, Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Ethology, Hormones and Behavior, and Physiology & Behavior) from 2001–2010 (n = 712) to examine the year-to-year dynamics of two types of bias related to taxonomy across animals: (1) taxonomic bias, which exists when research output is not proportional to the frequency of organisms in nature, and (2) taxonomic citation bias, which is a proxy for the breadth of a given article—specifically, the proportion of articles cited that refer solely to the studied taxon. I demonstrate that research on birds likely represents a disproportionate amount of parental care research and, thus, exhibits taxonomic bias. Parental care research on birds and mammals also refers to a relatively narrow range of taxonomic groups when discussing its context and, thus, exhibits taxonomic citation bias. Further, the levels of taxonomic bias and taxonomic citation bias have not declined over the past decade despite cautionary messages about similar bias in related disciplines— in fact, taxonomic bias may have increased. As in Bonnet et al. (2002), my results should not be interpreted as evidence of an ‘ornithological Mafia’ conspiring to suppress other taxonomic groups. Rather, I generate several rational hypotheses to determine why bias persists and to guide
van Staaden, Moira J; Searcy, William A; Hanlon, Roger T
From psychological and sociological standpoints, aggression is regarded as intentional behavior aimed at inflicting pain and manifested by hostility and attacking behaviors. In contrast, biologists define aggression as behavior associated with attack or escalation toward attack, omitting any stipulation about intentions and goals. Certain animal signals are strongly associated with escalation toward attack and have the same function as physical attack in intimidating opponents and winning contests, and ethologists therefore consider them an integral part of aggressive behavior. Aggressive signals have been molded by evolution to make them ever more effective in mediating interactions between the contestants. Early theoretical analyses of aggressive signaling suggested that signals could never be honest about fighting ability or aggressive intentions because weak individuals would exaggerate such signals whenever they were effective in influencing the behavior of opponents. More recent game theory models, however, demonstrate that given the right costs and constraints, aggressive signals are both reliable about strength and intentions and effective in influencing contest outcomes. Here, we review the role of signaling in lieu of physical violence, considering threat displays from an ethological perspective as an adaptive outcome of evolutionary selection pressures. Fighting prowess is conveyed by performance signals whose production is constrained by physical ability and thus limited to just some individuals, whereas aggressive intent is encoded in strategic signals that all signalers are able to produce. We illustrate recent advances in the study of aggressive signaling with case studies of charismatic taxa that employ a range of sensory modalities, viz. visual and chemical signaling in cephalopod behavior, and indicators of aggressive intent in the territorial calls of songbirds.
Sedláčková, Natália; Ponechalová, Veronika; Ujházy, Eduard; Dubovický, Michal; Mach, Mojmír
Anxiety and mood disorders have become very significant affections in the last decades. According to WHO at least one mental disease occurred per year in 27% of EU inhabitants (more than 82 mil. people). It is estimated that by 2020, depression will be the main cause of morbidity in the developed countries. These circumstances call for research for new prospective drugs with anxiolytic and antidepressive properties exhibiting no toxicity and withdrawal effect and possessing beneficial properties, like antioxidant and/or neuroprotective effects. The aim of this study was to obtain information about psychopharmacological properties of pyridoindole derivatives SMe1EC2 and SMe1M2, using non-invasive behavioral methods in rats. The battery of ethological tests (open field, elevated plus-maze, light/dark box exploration, forced swim test) was used to obtain information about anxiolytic and antidepressant activity of the pyridoindole derivatives. The substances were administered intraperitoneally 30 minutes before the tests at doses of 1, 10 and 25 mg/kg. In the behavioral tests, SMe1EC2 was found to exert anxiolytic activity in elevated plus maze with no affection of locomotor activity. The highest dose of SMe1M2 increased the time spent in the lit part of the Light/Dark box, however this result was influenced by inhibition of motor activity of the rats. Similar findings were observed also in elevated plus-maze, although these results were not statistically significant. In conclusion, from the results of our study it is evident that both pyridoindoles acted on the CNS. In the highest dose, SMe1M2 was found to possess rather sedative than anxiolytic or antidepressant activity. PMID:22319256
Tornero, Carlos; Balasse, Marie; Bălăşescu, Adrian; Chataigner, Christine; Gasparyan, Boris; Montoya, Cyril
Kalavan 1 is an Epigravettian hunting campsite in the Aregunyats mountain chain in northeastern Armenia (Lesser Caucasus). The site lies at an elevation of 1640 m in a bottleneck that controls the descent into the Barepat Valley from the alpine meadows above. The lithic and faunal assemblages show evidence of the production of hunting weapons, the hunting and targeting of wild sheep (Ovis orientalis), and the constitution of animal product reserves. A seasonal occupation of the site was proposed within a model of occupation by Epigravettian hunter-gatherers that involved a search for obsidian resources in high altitude sources from the spring to the summer and settling at Kalavan 1 at the end of summer or during autumn to coincide with the migration of wild herds from the alpine meadows to the valley. A key parameter of this model is wild sheep ethology, with a specifically seasonal vertical mobility, based on observations from contemporary mouflon populations from the surrounding areas. In this study, the vertical mobility of Paleolithic wild sheep was directly investigated through sequential isotope analysis (δ(18)O, δ(13)C) in teeth. A marked seasonality of birth is suggested that reflects a physiological adaptation to the strong environmental constraints of this mountainous region. Most importantly, a recurrent altitudinal mobility was demonstrated on a seasonal basis, which confirms that wild sheep migrated from lowland areas that they occupied in the winter and then moved to higher altitude meadows during the summer. Last, low inter-individual variability in the stable isotope sequences favors a hypothesis of accumulation for these faunal remains over a short time period. Overall, this new dataset strengthens the previous interpretations for Kalavan 1 and contributes to an understanding of the pattern of occupation of mountain territories by Epigravettian communities.
Wong, Jeremy D; Bobbert, Maarten F; van Soest, Arthur J; Gribble, Paul L; Kistemaker, Dinant A
A goal of biomechanics and motor control is to understand the design of the human musculoskeletal system. Here we investigated human functional morphology by making predictions about the muscle volume distribution that is optimal for a specific motor task. We examined a well-studied and relatively simple human movement, vertical jumping. We investigated how high a human could jump if muscle volume were optimized for jumping, and determined how the optimal parameters improve performance. We used a four-link inverted pendulum model of human vertical jumping actuated by Hill-type muscles, that well-approximates skilled human performance. We optimized muscle volume by allowing the cross-sectional area and muscle fiber optimum length to be changed for each muscle, while maintaining constant total muscle volume. We observed, perhaps surprisingly, that the reference model, based on human anthropometric data, is relatively good for vertical jumping; it achieves 90% of the jump height predicted by a model with muscles designed specifically for jumping. Alteration of cross-sectional areas-which determine the maximum force deliverable by the muscles-constitutes the majority of improvement to jump height. The optimal distribution results in large vastus, gastrocnemius and hamstrings muscles that deliver more work, while producing a kinematic pattern essentially identical to the reference model. Work output is increased by removing muscle from rectus femoris, which cannot do work on the skeleton given its moment arm at the hip and the joint excursions during push-off. The gluteus composes a disproportionate amount of muscle volume and jump height is improved by moving it to other muscles. This approach represents a way to test hypotheses about optimal human functional morphology. Future studies may extend this approach to address other morphological questions in ethological tasks such as locomotion, and feature other sets of parameters such as properties of the skeletal
Background Sexually deceptive orchids of the genus Ophrys attract their pollinators, male insects, on a highly specific basis through the emission of odour blends that mimic the female sex pheromone of the targeted species. In this study, we have investigated a contact site between Ophrys arachnitiformis and O. lupercalis, two sympatric orchid species that are usually reproductively isolated via the exploitation of different pollinator "niches", but occasionally hybridise despite their apparent combination of ethological and mechanical isolation barriers. In particular, we have investigated the extent to which these Ophrys hybrids generate "emergent" combinations (i.e. novel and unpredictable from the parents' phenotypes) of floral traits, and how these phenotypic novelties, particularly the odour blends emitted by the flower, could facilitate the invasion of a novel pollinator "niche" and induce the rapid formation of reproductive isolation, a prerequisite for adaptive evolutionary divergence. Results Our chemical analyses of floral scents show that the Ophrys F1 hybrids investigated here produce more compounds, significantly different ratios (% of odour compounds in the total blend), as well as new compounds in their floral odour compared to their progenitors. When tested for their attractiveness to the pollinator of each parent orchid species, we found that floral scent extracts of the hybrids triggered less inspecting flights and contacts by the male bees with the scented dummy than those of the parental orchid species. However, a series of additional behavioural bioassays revealed that the novel floral scent of the hybrids was significantly more attractive than either of the two parents to a pollinator species not initially involved in the pollination of any of the parent Ophrys species. Conclusions Collectively, our results illustrate that the process of hybridisation can lead to the generation of evolutionary novelties, and that novel combinations of floral
Stryjek, Rafał; Modlińska, Klaudia; Turlejski, Krzysztof; Pisula, Wojciech
The domestication process of the laboratory rat has been going on for several hundred generations in stable environmental conditions, which may have affected their physiological and behavioural functions, including their circadian system. Rats tested in our ethological experiments were laboratory-bred wild Norway rats (WWCPS), two strains of pigmented laboratory rats (Brown Norway and Long Evans), and two strains of albino rats (Sprague-Dawley and Wistar). Rats were placed in purpose-built enclosures and their cycle of activity (time spent actively outside the nest) has been studied for one week in standard light conditions and for the next one in round-the-clock darkness. The analysis of circadian pattern of outside-nest activity revealed differences between wild, pigmented laboratory, and albino laboratory strains. During daytime, albino rats showed lower activity than pigmented rats, greater decrease in activity when the light was turned on and greater increase in activity when the light was switched off, than pigmented rats. Moreover albino rats presented higher activity during the night than wild rats. The magnitude of the change in activity between daytime and nighttime was also more pronounced in albino rats. Additionaly, they slept outside the nest more often during the night than during the day. These results can be interpreted in accordance with the proposition that intense light is an aversive stimulus for albino rats, due to lack of pigment in their iris and choroid, which reduces their ability to adapt to light. Pigmented laboratory rats were more active during lights on, not only in comparison to the albino, but also to the wild rats. Since the difference seems to be independent of light intensity, it is likely to be a result of the domestication process. Cosinor analysis revealed a high rhythmicity of circadian cycles in all groups.
Di Marco, Vincenzo; Mazzone, Piera; Capucchio, Maria Teresa; Boniotti, Maria Beatrice; Aronica, Vincenzo; Russo, Miriam; Fiasconaro, Michele; Cifani, Noemi; Corneli, Sara; Biasibetti, Elena; Biagetti, Massimo; Pacciarini, Maria Lodovica; Cagiola, Monica; Pasquali, Paolo
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is an emerging disease among wild animals in many parts of the world. Wildlife reservoir hosts may thus represent a potential source of infection for livestock and humans. We investigated the role played by the Sicilian black pig, an autochthonous free- or semi-free-ranging domestic pig breed, as a potential source of bTB infection in an area where bTB prevalence in cattle is high. We initially performed a preliminary field study to assess the occurrence of bTB in such animals. We sampled 119 pigs at abattoir and found 6.7% and 3.4% of them to be affected by gross tuberculous-like lesions (TBL) and Mycobacterium bovis culture positive, respectively. We then proceeded to investigate the dissemination and characteristics of lesions in a second field study performed on 100 animals sampled from infected herds. Here, tissues collected at the abattoir were examined macroscopically, microscopically, and by culture tests. Most pigs with TBL showed generalized lesions in both gross and histological examinations (53% and 65.5%, respectively). Head lymph nodes were the most frequently affected in both localized and generalized TB cases observed macroscopically and microscopically. M. bovis was the most frequently isolated etiologic agent. The molecular characterization of isolates from both field studies by spoligotyping and analysis of 12 mycobacterial interspersed repetitive-unit–variable number tandem repeat (MIRU-VNTR) loci, followed by their comparison to isolates of cattle origin, suggested a potential transmission of mycobacteria from domestic animals to black pigs and vice versa. Our findings, along with ethological, ecological, and management considerations, suggest that the black pig might act as a bTB reservoir in the ecosystem under study. However, additional studies will be necessary to establish the true epidemiological significance of the Sicilian black pig. PMID:22322347
Kimura, Toshifumi; Ohashi, Mizue; Crailsheim, Karl; Schmickl, Thomas; Okada, Ryuichi; Radspieler, Gerald; Ikeno, Hidetoshi
A computer program that tracks animal behavior, thereby revealing various features and mechanisms of social animals, is a powerful tool in ethological research. Because honeybee colonies are populated by thousands of bees, individuals co-exist in high physical densities and are difficult to track unless specifically tagged, which can affect behavior. In addition, honeybees react to light and recordings must be made under special red-light conditions, which the eyes of bees perceive as darkness. The resulting video images are scarcely distinguishable. We have developed a new algorithm, K-Track, for tracking numerous bees in a flat laboratory arena. Our program implements three main processes: (A) The object (bee's) region is detected by simple threshold processing on gray scale images, (B) Individuals are identified by size, shape and spatiotemporal positional changes, and (C) Centers of mass of identified individuals are connected through all movie frames to yield individual behavioral trajectories. The tracking performance of our software was evaluated on movies of mobile multi-artificial agents and of 16 bees walking around a circular arena. K-Track accurately traced the trajectories of both artificial agents and bees. In the latter case, K-track outperformed Ctrax, well-known software for tracking multiple animals. To investigate interaction events in detail, we manually identified five interaction categories; ‘crossing’, ‘touching’, ‘passing’, ‘overlapping’ and ‘waiting’, and examined the extent to which the models accurately identified these categories from bee's interactions. All 7 identified failures occurred near a wall at the outer edge of the arena. Finally, K-Track and Ctrax successfully tracked 77 and 60 of 84 recorded interactive events, respectively. K-Track identified multiple bees on a flat surface and tracked their speed changes and encounters with other bees, with good performance. PMID:24465422
Christov-Moore, Leonardo; Simpson, Elizabeth A.; Coudé, Gino; Grigaityte, Kristina; Iacoboni, Marco; Ferrari, Pier Francesco
Evidence suggests that there are differences in the capacity for empathy between males and females. However, how deep do these differences go? Stereotypically, females are portrayed as more nurturing and empathetic, while males are portrayed as less emotional and more cognitive. Some authors suggest that observed gender differences might be largely due to cultural expectations about gender roles. However, empathy has both evolutionary and developmental precursors, and can be studied using implicit measures, aspects that can help elucidate the respective roles of culture and biology. This article reviews evidence from ethology, social psychology, economics, and neuroscience to show that there are fundamental differences in implicit measures of empathy, with parallels in development and evolution. Studies in nonhuman animals and younger human populations (infants/children) offer converging evidence that sex differences in empathy have phylogenetic and ontogenetic roots in biology and are not merely cultural byproducts driven by socialization. We review how these differences may have arisen in response to males’ and females’ different roles throughout evolution. Examinations of the neurobiological underpinnings of empathy reveal important quantitative gender differences in the basic networks involved in affective and cognitive forms of empathy, as well as a qualitative divergence between the sexes in how emotional information is integrated to support decision making processes. Finally, the study of gender differences in empathy can be improved by designing studies with greater statistical power and considering variables implicit in gender (e.g., sexual preference, prenatal hormone exposure). These improvements may also help uncover the nature of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders in which one sex is more vulnerable to compromised social competence associated with impaired empathy. PMID:25236781
Smith, Adam S; Wang, Zuoxin
Social relationships are a fundamental aspect of life, affecting social, psychological, physiological, and behavioral functions. While positive social interactions can attenuate stress and promote health, the social environment can also be a major source of stress when it includes social disruption, confrontation, isolation, or neglect. Social stress can impair the basal function and stress-induced activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, impairing function of multiple biological systems and posing a risk to mental and physical health. In contrast, social support can ameliorate stress-induced physiological and immunological deficits, reducing the risk of subsequent psychological distress and improving an individual's overall well-being. For better clinical treatment of these physiological and mental pathologies, it is necessary to understand the regulatory mechanisms of stress-induced pathologies as well as determine the underlying biological mechanisms that regulate social buffering of the stress system. A number of ethologically relevant animal models of social stress and species that form strong adult social bonds have been utilized to study the etiology, treatment, and prevention of stress-related disorders. While undoubtedly a number of biological pathways contribute to the social buffering of the stress response, the convergence of evidence denotes the regulatory effects of oxytocin in facilitating social bond-promoting behaviors and their effect on the stress response. Thus, oxytocin may be perceived as a common regulatory element of the social environment, stress response, and stress-induced risks on mental and physical health. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Oxytocin, Vasopressin, and Social Behavior.
Gingras, Murray K.; MacEachern, James A.; Dashtgard, Shahin E.
This paper sets out a philosophical approach to ichnological (trace fossil) analysis, which focuses on the interpretation of trace fossils as sedimentary structures rather than as paleontological entities per se. Using wide-ranging datasets and a large number of observations and interpretations, a "Process Ichnology" framework is proposed. This interpretive framework provides an improved means of estimating the presence and magnitude of various physical and chemical (i.e., physico-chemical) depositional stresses (e.g., water turbidity, sedimentation rates, substrate consistency, salinity, and oxygenation) in ancient sedimentary environments. Ichnological datasets that are considered include: 1) trace-fossil distributions; 2) ethological diversity and the range of diversity; 3) the significance of burrow linings; 4) trace-fossil size; and, 5) post-depositional compaction of trace fossils. From these data, higher-resolution estimates can be made for the determination of sedimentation rates, temporal variation in sedimentation rate, sediment consistency, and aspects of the bottom- and interstitial-water chemistries. Additionally, the character of depositional bypassing of sediment grains can be determined. The methodologies and interpretations herein are intended for use by non-ichnologists in a manner akin to the interpretation of physical sedimentary structures. However, the outlined framework is complementary to other methods of ichnological analysis, such as ichnofacies- or ichnofabric-analysis, and can be applied as such. Indeed, this method is a derivative of these and other earlier techniques, and should be employed where a systematic approach to obtaining high-resolution sedimentological interpretations is a required aspect of the study.
demonstrate that predatory stress, an ethologically relevant stressor, can elicit changes in neuroinflammation and behavior. The predatory stress model may be useful in elucidating mechanisms by which psychological stress modulates diseases with an inflammatory component. PMID:22248083
The Great Ape Project (GAP) is an appeal of 36 scientist from different disciplines aiming at the legal equalisation of the non-human great apes (chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans) with man. The appeal is expressed by a number of essays stating zoological, genetical, ethological, anthropological, ethical and psychological knowledge and, based on these arguments, demanding the abolition of the species barrier between human beings and great apes. The central point of the initiative is the "Declaration on Great Apes", claiming the inclusion of great apes in the "community of equals" and thus securing three basic rights for all great apes: 1. The Right of Life; 2. The Protection of Individual Liberty; 3. The Prohibition of Torture. Not only experiments with great apes and their capture from the wilderness will be banned, but it is also intended to enfranchise as many great apes as possible from research laboratories and zoos. As a legal basis for the achievement of basic rights most of the authors plead for the idea of conferring the moral status of "persons" on great apes. Criticism of the GAP is due to its anthropocentrism. Rejection is especially expressed by advocates of pathocentric ethics who argue that the species barrier will not be abolished but only shifted, running then between the great apes and the remaining living beings. However, the GAP resulted in a greater retention in the use of great apes for experiments in several industrial countries. Additionally, the popular literature published by ethologists in the passed decades has supported a more responsible attitude of the public towards primates. Despite of all efforts the survival of the great apes is greatly endangered within their native countries.
Ding, Yuanyuan; Wang, Zhibin; Ma, Jiaming; Hong, Tao; Zhu, Yongqiang; Li, Hongxi; Pan, Shinong
Objective To investigate the impacts of anti-nerve growth factor antibody on pain-related behaviors and expressions of μ-opioid receptor in spinal dorsal horn and dorsal root ganglia of rats with cancer-induced bone pain. Methods The rats were randomly grouped and then injected with 10 μl of phosphate buffer saline or Walker256 tumor cells into the upper segment of left tibia. Thirteen days after the injection, the intrathecal catheterization was performed, followed by the injection of saline, anti-nerve growth factor, nerve growth factor, and naloxone twice a day. The pain ethological changes were measured at the set time points; the expression changes of μ-opioid receptor protein and mRNA in spinal dorsal horn and dorsal root ganglia were detected on the 18th day. Results After the tumor cells were injected into the tibia, hyperalgesia appeared and the expression of μ-opioid receptor protein and mRNA in spinal dorsal horn and dorsal root ganglia was increased, compared with the sham group; after intrathecally injected anti-nerve growth factor, the significant antinociceptive effects appeared, and the μ-opioid receptor expression was increased, compared with the cancer pain group; the μ-opioid receptor expressions in the other groups showed no statistical significance. The naloxone pretreatment could mostly inverse the antinociception effects of anti-nerve growth factor. Conclusions Anti-nerve growth factor could reduce hyperalgesia in the cancer-induced bone pain rats, and the antinociceptive effects were related with the upregulation of μ-opioid receptor. PMID:27118770
Busato, Enrico; Ghittino, Claudio; Casale, Achille
According to current taxonomy, Subgenus Cathoplius C.G. Thomson, 1875, within the Genus Carabus Linnaeus, 1758 (in the broad sense), includes two species: C. (Cathoplius) asperatus (Dejean, 1826), monotypic with a northern distribution, and the southern polytypic substitutive species C. (Cathoplius) stenocephalus Lucas, 1866. The authors describe the life-way, life-cycle and pre-imaginal characters of the taxa currently ascribed to Subgenus Cathoplius, with details never provided before. Cathoplius are ground beetles adapted to live in arid environments and extreme habitats such as sub-desert areas. All of them are strictly helicophagous, both during the pre-imaginal stages and as adults, and are localized in a narrow fringe along the Atlantic coast of northwestern Africa. Several data and observations on the eco-ethology of the different taxa, obtained both in field and in laboratory, are reported. The life-cycle of Cathoplius belongs to the winter breeding type, with an extremely high fecundity rate concentrated in a very short period of time, that has no similarity to any other Carabus species. Eggs, larvae and pupae of the different species and subspecies of Cathoplius are described and illustrated. Larval characters clearly place Subgenus Cathoplius into the lineage of Neocarabi, confirming it as a monophyletic and homogeneous assemblage. Hybridization trials between some taxa led to a reduced survival rate of the progeny, thus confirming their specific or subspecific differentiation as proposed by classical taxonomy. Furthermore, hybridization results suggest that C. (Cathoplius) stenocephalus aliai could be considered as a distinct species. Notes about the origin, biogeography and phylogeny of Cathoplius are also provided.
Thomas, Brittany L.; Karl, Jenni M.; Whishaw, Ian Q.
The Dual Visuomotor Channel Theory proposes that visually guided reaching is a composite of two movements, a Reach that advances the hand to contact the target and a Grasp that shapes the digits for target purchase. The theory is supported by biometric analyses of adult reaching, evolutionary contrasts, and differential developmental patterns for the Reach and the Grasp in visually guided reaching in human infants. The present ethological study asked whether there is evidence for a dissociated development for the Reach and the Grasp in nonvisual hand use in very early infancy. The study documents a rich array of spontaneous self-touching behavior in infants during the first 6 months of life and subjected the Reach movements to an analysis in relation to body target, contact type, and Grasp. Video recordings were made of resting alert infants biweekly from birth to 6 months. In younger infants, self-touching targets included the head and trunk. As infants aged, targets became more caudal and included the hips, then legs, and eventually the feet. In younger infants hand contact was mainly made with the dorsum of the hand, but as infants aged, contacts included palmar contacts and eventually grasp and manipulation contacts with the body and clothes. The relative incidence of caudal contacts and palmar contacts increased concurrently and were significantly correlated throughout the period of study. Developmental increases in self-grasping contacts occurred a few weeks after the increase in caudal and palmar contacts. The behavioral and temporal pattern of these spontaneous self-touching movements suggest that the Reach, in which the hand extends to make a palmar self-contact, and the Grasp, in which the digits close and make manipulatory movements, have partially independent developmental profiles. The results additionally suggest that self-touching behavior is an important developmental phase that allows the coordination of the Reach and the Grasp prior to and
Choleris, Elena; Clipperton-Allen, Amy E; Gray, Durene G; Diaz-Gonzalez, Sebastian; Welsman, Robert G
The neurobiological bases of social learning, by which an animal can 'exploit the expertise of others' and avoid the disadvantages of individual learning, are only partially understood. We examined the involvement of the dopaminergic system in social learning by administering a dopamine D1-type receptor antagonist, SCH23390 (0.01, 0.05, and 0.1 mg/kg), or a D2-type receptor antagonist, raclopride (0.1, 0.3, and 0.6 mg/kg), to adult female mice prior to socially learning a food preference. We found that while SCH23390 dose-dependently inhibited social learning without affecting feeding behavior or the ability of mice to discriminate between differently flavored diets, raclopride had the opposite effects, inhibiting feeding but leaving social learning unaffected. We showed that food odor, alone or in a social context, was insufficient to induce a food preference, proving the specifically social nature of this paradigm. The estrous cycle also affected social learning, with mice in proestrus expressing the socially acquired food preference longer than estrous and diestrous mice. This suggests gonadal hormone involvement, which is consistent with known estrogenic regulation of female social behavior and estrogen receptor involvement in social learning. Furthermore, a detailed ethological analysis of the social interactions during which social learning occurs showed raclopride- and estrous phase-induced changes in agonistic behavior, which were not directly related to effects on social learning. Overall, these results suggest a differential involvement of the D1-type and D2-type receptors in the regulation of social learning, feeding, and agonistic behaviors that are likely mediated by different underlying states.
Nascimento, Juliana O G; Kikuchi, Letícia Sumiko; de Bortoli, Valquíria Camin; Zangrossi, Hélio; Viana, Milena B
The dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH) has long been associated with the regulation of escape, a panic-related defensive response. Previous evidence has shown that the activation of serotonin (5-HT) 1A and 2A receptors impairs escape behavior induced by the electrical stimulation of the same region. In this study we further explore the relationship of the DMH with defense by investigating the effects of 5-HT1A activation on escape behavior generated in male Wistar rats by an ethologically based aversive stimuli, exposure to one of the open arms of the elevated T-maze (ETM). Aside from escape, the ETM also allows the measurement of inhibitory avoidance, a defensive response associated with generalized anxiety disorder. To evaluate locomotor activity, after ETM measurements animals were submitted to an open field. Results showed that intra-DMH administration of the 5-HT1A receptor agonist 8-OH-DPAT inhibited escape expression. Local administration of the 5-HT1A antagonist WAY-100635 by its own was ineffective, but blocked the panicolytic-like effect of 8-OH-DPAT. Chronic (21 days) systemic treatment with imipramine potentiated the anti-escape effect of 8-OH-DPAT. No significant effects of treatment with 8-OH-DPAT or imipramine on avoidance latencies or the number of lines crossed in the open field were found. These results indicate that 5-HT1A receptors within the DMH may play a phasic inhibitory role on ETM escape expression. As previously proposed, facilitation of 5-HT1A-mediated neurotransmission in the DMH may be involved in the mechanism of action of anti-panic compounds.
Williams, Angela M.; Reis, Daniel J.; Powell, Alexa S.; Neira, Louis J.; Nealey, Kathryn A.; Ziegler, Cole E.; Kloss, Nina; Bilimoria, Jessica L.; Smith, Chelsea E.; Walker, Brendan M.
Rationale Once dependent on alcohol or opioids, negative affect may accompany withdrawal. Dependent individuals are hypothesized to “self-medicate” in order to cope with withdrawal, which promotes escalated drug or alcohol use. Objectives The current study aimed to develop a reliable animal model to assess symptoms that occur during spontaneous alcohol and opioid withdrawal. Methods Dependence was induced using intermittent alcohol exposure or pulsatile heroin delivery and assessed for the presence of withdrawal symptoms during acute withdrawal by measuring somatic signs, behavior in the forced swim test (FST) and air-puff induced 22-kHz ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs). Additional animals subjected to eight weeks of alcohol vapor exposure were evaluated for altered somatic signs, operant alcohol self-administration and 22-kHz USV production, as well as performance in the elevated plus-maze (EPM). Results During spontaneous withdrawal from pulsatile heroin or intermittent alcohol vapor, animals displayed increased somatic withdrawal signs, FST immobility and 22-kHz USV production, but did not show any behavioral change in the EPM unless the duration of exposure was extended to four weeks. Following eight weeks of alcohol vapor exposure, animals displayed somatic withdrawal signs, escalated alcohol self-administration and increased 22-kHz USVs. Conclusions These paradigms provide consistent methods to evaluate the behavioral ramifications, and neurobiological substrates, of alcohol and opioid dependence during spontaneous withdrawal. As immobility in the FST and percent open-arm time in the EPM were dissociable, with 22-kHz USVs paralleling immobility in the FST, assessment of air-puff induced 22-kHz USVs could provide an ethologically-valid alternative to the FST. PMID:22461104
Popov, S V
A model of direct behavioural mechanisms is suggested. The suggestion is founded on the following prerequisites: the law of optimum arousal by Yerkes-Dodson; the data on animals' purposeful striving towards the optimum; and the data on effect of stimuli uncertainty (unpredictability and/or uncontrollability) on susceptibility to the stimuli. The key postulate of the model is animals' ability to affect the environment uncertainty with their behaviour and, hence, to change their susceptibility to various stimuli and optimize their stress/arousal level. This function of behaviour had never been discussed and seems to be rather important for proximal behavioural mechanisms and for forming direct motives of behaviour. Optimization of arousal level may be viewed as "universal benefit" at the level of direct behavioural mechanisms (similar to "joint genetic fitness" at the level of evolutional mechanisms). Within the model framework it is possible to take up some sophisticated aspects of ethology such as social relations forming, "begging for punishment", "zoo stereotypy", and so on. Among verifiable predictions that can be derived from its analysis, the following ones are worthwhile: (1) the stronger of two similar social relations cannot be more stressful than the weaker one; (2) the intensity of marking activity never increases as arousal/stress level decreases; (3) stress/arousal level of an animal having been experienced "zoo stereotypy" for a long time can never be higher than that of a conspecific individual showing the behaviour for the first time; (4) the rate of "begging for punishment" behaviour of an individual should positively correlate with environmental uncertainty; (5) arousal/stress level of an individual looking for novelty can never be higher than arousal/stress level of the same individual when avoiding novelty; (6) the striving of a specimen for displaying the behaviour promoting an increase in uncertainty can be suppressed by raising the
Choleris, Elena; Clipperton-Allen, Amy E; Gray, Durene G; Diaz-Gonzalez, Sebastian; Welsman, Robert G
The neurobiological bases of social learning, by which an animal can ‘exploit the expertise of others' and avoid the disadvantages of individual learning, are only partially understood. We examined the involvement of the dopaminergic system in social learning by administering a dopamine D1-type receptor antagonist, SCH23390 (0.01, 0.05, and 0.1 mg/kg), or a D2-type receptor antagonist, raclopride (0.1, 0.3, and 0.6 mg/kg), to adult female mice prior to socially learning a food preference. We found that while SCH23390 dose-dependently inhibited social learning without affecting feeding behavior or the ability of mice to discriminate between differently flavored diets, raclopride had the opposite effects, inhibiting feeding but leaving social learning unaffected. We showed that food odor, alone or in a social context, was insufficient to induce a food preference, proving the specifically social nature of this paradigm. The estrous cycle also affected social learning, with mice in proestrus expressing the socially acquired food preference longer than estrous and diestrous mice. This suggests gonadal hormone involvement, which is consistent with known estrogenic regulation of female social behavior and estrogen receptor involvement in social learning. Furthermore, a detailed ethological analysis of the social interactions during which social learning occurs showed raclopride- and estrous phase-induced changes in agonistic behavior, which were not directly related to effects on social learning. Overall, these results suggest a differential involvement of the D1-type and D2-type receptors in the regulation of social learning, feeding, and agonistic behaviors that are likely mediated by different underlying states. PMID:21525863
From an evolutionary perspective, a central mechanism promoting infant survival is the maintenance of proximity to attachment figures. Consequently attachment figure(s) represent the infant's primary solution to experiences of fear. Aspects of the development of the field of attachment are outlined within this context, beginning with Bowlby's ethological/evolutionary theory, and proceeding to Ainsworth's early descriptions of infant-mother interaction in Uganda and Baltimore. Using a laboratory procedure called the strange situation, Ainsworth identified three organized patterns of infant response to separation from and reunion with the parent. Narratives derived from videotaped strange situation behavior of infants in each category (secure, avoidant, and resistant/ambivalent) are provided, together with a discussion of the prototypical sequelae of each category (e.g., school behavior, and separation-related narratives and drawings at age six). The Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) and the move to the level of representation are also described. AAI transcripts are presently analyzed according to the speaker's capacity to adhere to Grice's maxims of rational cooperative discourse, and three organized AAI categories, or states of mind with respect to attachment, have been identified (secure-autonomous, dismissing, and preoccupied). When the interview is administered to parents who have been seen with their infants in the strange situation, each AAI category has repeatedly been found to predict that infant's strange situation response to that parent. Illustrations of the discourse characteristic of each category are provided, and it is noted that individuals with apparently unfavorable life histories are found to have secure offspring, providing that their history is recounted coherently. Like infant strange situation behavior, differences in adult security as identified through discourse patterning are interpreted in terms of attentional flexibility or inflexibility
Michopoulos, Vasiliki; Higgins, Melinda; Toufexis, Donna; Wilson, Mark E
Social subordination in female macaques is imposed by harassment and the threat of aggression and produces reduced control over one's social and physical environment and a dysregulation of the limbic-hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis resembling that observed in people suffering from psychopathologies. These effects support the contention that this particular animal model is an ethologically relevant paradigm in which to investigate the etiology of stress-induced psychological illness related to women. Here, we sought to expand this model by performing a discriminate analysis (DA) on 33 variables within three domains; behavioral, metabolic/anthropomorphic, and neuroendocrine, collected from socially housed female rhesus monkeys in order to assess whether exposure to social subordination produces a distinct phenotype. A receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was also calculated to determine each domain's classification accuracy. DA found significant markers within each domain that differentiated dominant and subordinate females. Subordinate females received more aggression, showed more submissive behavior, and received less of affiliation from others than did dominant females. Metabolic differences included increased leptin, and reduced adiponectin in dominant compared to subordinate females. Dominant females exhibited increased sensitivity to hormonal stimulation with higher serum LH in response to estradiol, cortisol in response to ACTH, and increased glucocorticoid negative feedback. Serum oxytocin, CSF DOPAC and serum PACAP were all significantly higher in dominant females. ROC curve analysis accurately predicted social status in all three domains. Results suggest that socially house rhesus monkeys represent a cogent animal model in which to study the physiology and behavioral consequences of chronic psychosocial stress in humans. PMID:22244748
Evolutionary change is a product of selection. Selection operates on the phenotype, and its consequences are manifest in representation of the genotype in successive generations. Of particular interest to both evolutionary and behavioral biologists is the newly emerging field of epigenetics and behavior. Two broad categories of epigenetic modifications must be distinguished. Context-dependent epigenetic change can be observed if the environmental factors that bring about the epigenetic modification persists (e.g., the frequency and quality of maternal care modifying the brain and future behavior of the offspring each generation). Because the environment induces epiallelic change, removing the causative factor can reverse a context-dependent epigenetic state. Germline-dependent epigenetic change occurs when the epigenetic imprint is mediated through the germline. Such effects are independent of the causative agent and there is no evidence at present that a germline-dependent epigenetic state can be reversed. Finally, only germline-dependent epigenetic modifications can be truly transgenerational. Although an individual's life history is progressive and continuous, it might usefully be viewed as the cumulation of divisions: each period emerging from what has gone before and, at the same time, setting the stage for what follows. These life history stages are somewhat arbitrary, with many traits spanning conventional divisions, but each period tends to have its own characteristic ethologies and particular contribution to neural and behavioral phenotypes. To understand how these episodes 'fit' together, it is necessary to deconstruct early life events and study each period both in its' own right and how it interacts with the preceding and subsequent stages. Lastly, it seems intuitive that germline- and context-dependent epigenetic modifications interact, resulting in the individual variation observed in behaviors, but until now this hypothesis has never been tested
Gerencsér, Linda; Vásárhelyi, Gábor; Nagy, Máté; Vicsek, Tamas; Miklósi, Adam
Monitoring and describing the physical movements and body postures of animals is one of the most fundamental tasks of ethology. The more precise the observations are the more sophisticated the interpretations can be about the biology of a certain individual or species. Animal-borne data loggers have recently contributed much to the collection of motion-data from individuals, however, the problem of translating these measurements to distinct behavioural categories to create an ethogram is not overcome yet. The objective of the present study was to develop a “behaviour tracker”: a system composed of a multiple sensor data-logger device (with a tri-axial accelerometer and a tri-axial gyroscope) and a supervised learning algorithm as means of automated identification of the behaviour of freely moving dogs. We collected parallel sensor measurements and video recordings of each of our subjects (Belgian Malinois, N=12; Labrador Retrievers, N=12) that were guided through a predetermined series of standard activities. Seven behavioural categories (lay, sit, stand, walk, trot, gallop, canter) were pre-defined and each video recording was tagged accordingly. Evaluation of the measurements was performed by support vector machine (SVM) classification. During the analysis we used different combinations of independent measurements for training and validation (belonging to the same or different individuals or using different training data size) to determine the robustness of the application. We reached an overall accuracy of above 90% perfect identification of all the defined seven categories of behaviour when both training and validation data belonged to the same individual, and over 80% perfect recognition rate using a generalized training data set of multiple subjects. Our results indicate that the present method provides a good model for an easily applicable, fast, automatic behaviour classification system that can be trained with arbitrary motion patterns and potentially
Sayers, Ken; Evans, Theodore A.; Menzel, Emilie; Smith, J. David; Beran, Michael J.
Summary Metacognition, the monitoring of one’s own mental states, is a fundamental aspect of human intellect. Despite tests in nonhuman animals suggestive of uncertainty monitoring, some authors interpret these results solely in terms of primitive psychological mechanisms and reinforcement regimes, where “reinforcement” is invariably considered to be the delivery and consumption of earned food rewards. Surprisingly, few studies have detailed the trial-by-trial behaviour of animals engaged in such tasks. Here we report ethology-based observations on a rhesus monkey completing sparse-dense discrimination problems, and given the option of escaping trials (i.e., responding “uncertain”) at its own choosing. Uncertainty responses were generally made on trials of high objective difficulty, and were characterized by long latencies before beginning visible trials, long times taken for response, and, even after controlling for difficulty, high degrees of wavering during response. Incorrect responses were also common in trials of high objective difficulty, but were characterized by low degrees of wavering. This speaks to the likely adaptive nature of “hesitation,” and is inconsistent with models which argue or predict implicit, inflexible information-seeking or “alternative option” behaviours whenever challenging problems present themselves, Confounding models which suggest that nonhuman behaviour in metacognition tasks is driven solely by food delivery/consumption, the monkey was also observed allowing pellets to accumulate and consuming them during and after trials of all response/outcome categories (i.e., whether correct, incorrect, or escaped). This study thus bolsters previous findings that rhesus monkey behaviour in metacognition tasks is in some respects disassociated from mere food delivery/consumption, or even the avoidance of punishment. These and other observations fit well with the evolutionary status and natural proclivities of rhesus monkeys
Replogle, Kirstin; Arnold, Arthur P; Ball, Gregory F; Band, Mark; Bensch, Staffan; Brenowitz, Eliot A; Dong, Shu; Drnevich, Jenny; Ferris, Margaret; George, Julia M; Gong, George; Hasselquist, Dennis; Hernandez, Alvaro G; Kim, Ryan; Lewin, Harris A; Liu, Lei; Lovell, Peter V; Mello, Claudio V; Naurin, Sara; Rodriguez-Zas, Sandra; Thimmapuram, Jyothi; Wade, Juli; Clayton, David F
Background Songbirds hold great promise for biomedical, environmental and evolutionary research. A complete draft sequence of the zebra finch genome is imminent, yet a need remains for application of genomic resources within a research community traditionally focused on ethology and neurobiological methods. In response, we developed a core set of genomic tools and a novel collaborative strategy to probe gene expression in diverse songbird species and natural contexts. Results We end-sequenced cDNAs from zebra finch brain and incorporated additional sequences from community sources into a database of 86,784 high quality reads. These assembled into 31,658 non-redundant contigs and singletons, which we annotated via BLAST search of chicken and human databases. The results are publicly available in the ESTIMA:Songbird database. We produced a spotted cDNA microarray with 20,160 addresses representing 17,214 non-redundant products of an estimated 11,500–15,000 genes, validating it by analysis of immediate-early gene (zenk) gene activation following song exposure and by demonstrating effective cross hybridization to genomic DNAs of other songbird species in the Passerida Parvorder. Our assembly was also used in the design of the "Lund-zfa" Affymetrix array representing ~22,000 non-redundant sequences. When the two arrays were hybridized to cDNAs from the same set of male and female zebra finch brain samples, both arrays detected a common set of regulated transcripts with a Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.895. To stimulate use of these resources by the songbird research community and to maintain consistent technical standards, we devised a "Community Collaboration" mechanism whereby individual birdsong researchers develop experiments and provide tissues, but a single individual in the community is responsible for all RNA extractions, labelling and microarray hybridizations. Conclusion Immediately, these results set the foundation for a coordinated set of 25 planned
Russell, Connie Adelle
Scope and method of study. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of gender, major, and prior knowledge of and attitude toward biology on participation in introductory biology laboratories. Subjects for this study were 3,527 students enrolled in college-level introductory biology courses. During the study, three introductory courses were replaced with one mixed-majors course. The new course adopted a different pedagological approach from the previous courses in that an inquiry-based approach was used in lectures and laboratories. All subjects completed a survey that measured content knowledge using the NABT/NSTA High School Biology Examination Version 1990 and attitude using Russell and Hollander's Biology Attitude Scale. I used and discuss the merits of using ethological methods and data collection software, EthoScribeTM (Tima Scientific) to collect behavioral data from 145 students. I also evaluated participation using qualitative interviews of 30 students. I analyzed content knowledge and attitude data using ANOVA and Pearson correlation, and behavioral data using Contingency Table Analysis. I analyzed interviews following methods outlined by Rubin and Rubin. Findings. Course style and gender were the most useful variables in distinguishing differences among groups of students with regard to attitude, content knowledge, and participation in laboratories. Attitude toward biology and achievement measured by the surveys were found to be positively correlated; however, gender, major, class standing, course style and interactions between these variables also had effects on these variables. I found a positive association among attitude, achievement and participation in hands-on activities in laboratories. Differences in participation also were associated group type. In a traditional introductory biology course, females in single-gender groups, gender-equal, or groups in which females were the majority spent more time performing hands-on science
Loeckenhoff, Helmut K.
Post-Renaissance sciences created different cultures. To establish an epistemological base, Physics were separated from the Mental domain. Consciousness was excluded from science. Life Sciences were left in between e.g. LaMettrie's `man—machine' (1748) and 'vitalism' [e.g. Bergson 4]. Causative thinking versus intuitive arguing limited strictly comprehensive concepts. First ethology established a potential shared base for science, proclaiming the `biology paradigm' in the middle of the 20th century. Initially procured by Cybernetics and Systems sciences, `constructivist' models prepared a new view on human perception and thus also of scientific `objectivity when introducing the `observer'. In sequel Computer sciences triggered the ICT revolution. In turn ICT helped to develop Chaos and Complexity sciences, Non-linear Mathematics and its spin-offs in the formal sciences [Spencer-Brown 49] as e.g. (proto-)logics. Models of life systems, as e.g. Anticipatory Systems, integrated epistemology with mathematics and Anticipatory Computing [Dubois 11, 12, 13, 14] connecting them with Semiotics. Seminal ideas laid in the turn of the 19th to the 20th century [J. v. Uexküll 53] detected the co-action and co-evolvement of environments and life systems. Bio-Semiotics ascribed purpose, intent and meaning as essential qualities of life. The concepts of Systems Biology and Qualitative Research enriched and develop also anthropologies and humanities. Brain research added models of (higher) consciousness. An avant-garde is contemplating a science including consciousness as one additional base. New insights from the extended qualitative approach led to re-conciliation of basic assumptions of scientific inquiry, creating the `epistemological turn'. Paradigmatically, resting on macro- micro- and recently on nano-biology, evolution biology sired fresh scripts of evolution [W. Wieser 60,61]. Its results tie to hypotheses describing the emergence of language, of the human mind and of
Fletcher, Alison W; Weghorst, Jennifer A
Studies of laterality of hand function in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) have the potential to tell us about the origins of handedness in Homo sapiens. However, the data are confusing, with discrepancies present between studies done in the field and the laboratory: the former show wild chimpanzees to be unlateralised at the population level, while the latter show captive chimpanzees as lateralised at the population level. This study of 26 semi-free ranging chimpanzees of Chester Zoo, UK, aimed to investigate a situation between the wild and captivity and provided ethological data for 43 categories of spontaneous manual use and 14 categories of tool use. Other variables recorded were subordinate hand activity, whether the subject was arboreal or terrestrial, and the identity of the subject. Using switching focal subject sampling, 23,978 bouts of hand use and 1,090 bouts of tool use were recorded. No population-level handedness was present for manual non-tool use activities in the naturalistically housed chimpanzees of Chester Zoo in a similar way to studies of wild chimpanzees. However, about half of the individuals were lateralised to one side or the other for the foraging behaviours of pick up, eat, and pluck. Using a modified version of McGrew and Marchant's (1997) Laterality Framework, these results are comparable to some wild and captive populations for similar foraging tasks. Bimanuality was rare and thus prevented comparison with captive experimental studies that have reported population right handedness. Behaviour involving contact with water elicited stronger lateralisation. Chester chimpanzees were more likely to exhibit hand preferences for manual tasks with increasing age but there were no effects of sex or rearing history on hand specialisations in adult individuals. Lateralisation was biased in tool use, which evoked significant left hand preferences in half the individuals, with no effect of age. Results are discussed comparatively with reference to
Gray, Cloe Luckett; Krebs-Kraft, Desiree L.; Solomon, Matia B.; Norvelle, Alisa; Parent, Marise B.; Huhman, Kim. L.
. Collectively, the present results indicate that noradrenergic activity promotes the consolidation of CD and suggest that CD is a valuable model to study the processes by which emotion and stress modulate memory in an ethologically relevant context. These data also suggest that the popular conception in the clinical literature that the anxiolytic effect of propranolol is primarily due to the drug’s peripheral effects may need to be reconsidered. PMID:26367452
Goodwin, Deborah; McGreevy, Paul; Waran, Natalie; McLean, Andrew
the desired response. Learning theory and equine ethology, the fundamentals of the emerging discipline of equitation science, can be used to explain almost all the behaviour modification that goes on in these contexts and in conventional horsemanship. By measuring and evaluating what works and what does not, equitation science has the potential to have a unifying effect on traditional practices and developing branches of equitation.
Rodgers, R J; Johnson, N J; Cole, J C; Dewar, C V; Kidd, G R; Kimpson, P H
Recent research has shown that a single undrugged prior experience of the elevated plus-maze produces significant behavioural changes upon 24-h retest in rats and mice. Typically, when reexposed to the maze, animals display an increased avoidance of the open arms and a corresponding preference for the enclosed sections of the apparatus. Using ethological analyses, the present series of experiments sought to further characterize this phenomenon in mice and to determine whether or not it involves cholinergic receptor mechanisms. Results confirmed that behaviour during Trial 2 is markedly different to that seen on initial exposure, and that such changes are independent of the duration of Trial 1 (2 vs. 5 min). Retest behavioural changes included reduced entry latencies, reduced open arm entries, less time on the open arms and centre platform, lower levels of exploratory head-dipping, and increased entries into and time spent in the closed arms. The importance to the retest phenomenon of the first few minutes of initial exposure was further suggested by min-by-min analyses of the behaviour of animals naive to the maze. Results showed that behaviour during the first min is characterized by high levels of risk assessment from the centre platform and relatively low, but equal, levels of open- and closed-arm exploration. From min 2 onwards, however, behaviour showed a marked change with increasing open arm/centre platform avoidance, increasing closed-arm preference, and decreasing levels of risk assessment and exploratory head-dipping. Thus, it would appear that this within-session aversive learning transfers between sessions to account for behavioural profiles on retest. Irrespective of the duration of Trial 1 (2 or 5 min), posttrial administration of the muscarinic antagonist, scopolamine (0.1-1.0 mg/kg), failed to significantly alter the behavioural changes seen between trials. Data are discussed in relation to the apparent sensitization of fear produced by plus
but normalized with improved social situation. Disturbed cyclicity featured prolongation of interestrus intervals and complete detumescence, oligomenorrhea and amenorrhea. Nulliparous females in their third decennium needed more than 1.5 years of social contact to a fertile male to become fullterm pregnant. During the first two months of pregnancy stillbirths and embryonic resorptions were detected. Handreared and inexperienced primiparous gorilla females accepted their infants and reared them normally after witnessing motherrearing in neighbored chimpanzee females for several years. Opportunities of free choice and decision making determine zookept pongid behaviour, that cannot be compared with prisoners' ethology. Adaptations of ontogenetic behaviour and reproduction, teleonomic patterns and zoomorphism are of zoobiological relevance. Adaptations develope during prolonged periods of time and thus results of corresponding management issues are to be assessed a posteriori.
Gurevich, Michael Dixon
A framework for computational acoustic modeling of hypothetical vocal production mechanisms in cetaceans is presented. As a specific example, a model of a proposed source in the larynx of odontocetes is developed. Whales and dolphins generate a broad range of vocal sounds, but the exact mechanisms they use are not conclusively understood. In the fifty years since it has become widely accepted that whales can and do make sound, how they do so has remained particularly confounding. Cetaceans' highly divergent respiratory anatomy, along with the difficulty of internal observation during vocalization have contributed to this uncertainty. A variety of acoustical, morphological, ethological and physiological evidence has led to conflicting and often disputed theories of the locations and mechanisms of cetaceans' sound sources. Computational acoustic modeling has been used to create real-time parametric models of musical instruments and the human voice. These techniques can be applied to cetacean vocalizations to help better understand the nature and function of these sounds. Extensive studies of odontocete laryngeal morphology have revealed vocal folds that are consistently similar to a known but poorly understood acoustic source, the ribbon reed. A parametric computational model of the ribbon reed is developed, based on simplified geometrical, mechanical and fluid models drawn from the human voice literature. The physical parameters of the ribbon reed model are then adapted to those of the odontocete larynx. With reasonable estimates of real physical parameters, both the ribbon reed and odontocete larynx models produce sounds that are perceptually similar to their real-world counterparts, and both respond realistically under varying control conditions. Comparisons of acoustic features of the real-world and synthetic systems show a number of consistencies. While this does not on its own prove that either model is conclusively an accurate description of the source, it
. Nevertheless, our results suggest that BVDV infections are only sporadic in Swiss wild ruminants, despite regular occurrence of interactions with potentially infected livestock. Overall, serological, virological and ethological data indicate that wildlife is currently an incidental spill-over host and not a reservoir for BVDV in Switzerland. PMID:23107231
Harzsch; Miller; Benton; Dawirs; Beltz
The mode of embryonic and larval development and the ethology of metamorphosis in the spider crab and the American lobster are very different, and we took advantage of this to compare neuronal development in the two species. The goals of this study were to discover whether the differences in the maturation of the neuromuscular system in the pereopods and the metamorphic changes of motor behavior between the two species are reflected at the level of the developing nervous system ('neurometamorphosis'). Furthermore, we wanted to broaden our understanding of the mechanisms that govern neuronal development in arthropods. Proliferation of neuronal stem cells in thoracic neuromeres 4-8 of the lobster Homarus americanus and the crab Hyas araneus was monitored over the course of embryonic and larval development using the in vivo incorporation of bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU). Neuropil structure was visualized using an antibody against Drosophila synapsin. While proliferation of neuronal precursors has ceased when embryogenesis is 80 % complete (E80%) in the lobster thoracic neuromeres, proliferation of neuroblasts in the crab persists throughout embryonic development and into larval life. The divergent temporal patterns of neurogenesis in the two crustacean species can be correlated with differences in larval life style and in the degree of maturation of the thoracic legs during metamorphic development. Several unusual aspects of neurogenesis reported here distinguish these crustaceans from other arthropods. Lobsters apparently lack a postembryonic period of proliferation in the thoracic neuromeres despite the metamorphic remodeling that takes place in the larval stages. In contrast, an increase in mitotic activity towards the end of embryonic development is found in crabs, and neuroblast proliferation persists throughout the process of hatching into the larval stages. In both E20% lobster embryos and mid-embryonic crabs, expression of engrailed was found in a corresponding set
Bierema, Andrea Marie-Kryger
In 1963, Tinbergen revolutionized the study of animal behaviour in his paper On aims and methods of ethology (Zeitschrift Tierpsycholgie, 20, 410-433) by revamping the conceptual framework of the discipline. His framework suggests an integration of four questions: causation, ontogeny, survival value, and evolution. The National Research Council Committee (U.S.) on Undergraduate Biology Education to Prepare Research Scientists for the 21st Century published BIO2010: Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists (Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2003), which suggests alignment between current research and undergraduate education. Unfortunately, alignment has been rarely studied in college biology, especially for fundamental concepts. The purpose of this study, therefore, is to determine if the conceptual framework used by animal behaviour scientists, as presented in current primary literature, aligns with what students are exposed to in undergraduate biology education. After determining the most commonly listed textbooks from randomlyselected animal behaviour syllabi, four of the most popular textbooks, as well as the course descriptions provided in the collected syllabi, underwent content analysis in order to determine the extent that each of Tinbergen's four questions is being applied in education. Mainstream animal behaviour journal articles from 2013 were also assessed via content analysis in order to evaluate the current research framework. It was discovered that over 80% of the textbook text covered only two of Tinbergen's questions (survival value and causation). The other two questions, evolution and ontogeny, were rarely described in the text. A similar trend was found in journal articles. Therefore, alignment is occurring between primary literature and education, but neither aligns with the established conceptual framework of the discipline. According to course descriptions, many instructors intend to use an integrated
Kim, Hee-Dae; Hesterman, Jennifer; Call, Tanessa; Magazu, Samantha; Keeley, Elizabeth; Armenta, Kristyna; Kronman, Hope; Neve, Rachael L.; Nestler, Eric J.
Depression is a recurring and life-threatening illness that affects up to 120 million people worldwide. In the present study, we show that chronic social defeat stress, an ethologically validated model of depression in mice, increases SIRT1 levels in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), a key brain reward region. Increases in SIRT1, a well characterized class III histone deacetylase, after chronic social defeat suggest a role for this enzyme in mediating depression-like behaviors. When resveratrol, a pharmacological activator of SIRT1, was directly infused bilaterally into the NAc, we observed an increase in depression- and anxiety-like behaviors. Conversely, intra-NAc infusions of EX-527, a SIRT1 antagonist, reduced these behaviors; EX-527 also reduced acute stress responses in stress-naive mice. Next, we increased SIRT1 levels directly in NAc by use of viral-mediated gene transfer and observed an increase in depressive- and anxiety-like behaviors when mice were assessed in the open-field, elevated-plus-maze, and forced swim tests. Using a Cre-inducible viral vector system to overexpress SIRT1 selectively in dopamine D1 or D2 subpopulations of medium spiny neurons (MSNs) in the NAc, we found that SIRT1 promotes depressive-like behaviors only when overexpressed in D1 MSNs, with no effect seen in D2 MSNs. Conversely, selective ablation of SIRT1 in the NAc using viral-Cre in floxed Sirt1 mice resulted in decreased depression- and anxiety-like behaviors. Together, these results demonstrate that SIRT1 plays an essential role in the NAc in regulating mood-related behavioral abnormalities and identifies a novel signaling pathway for the development of innovative antidepressants to treat major depressive disorders. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT In this study, we demonstrate a pivotal role for SIRT1 in anxiety- and depression-like behaviors in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), a key brain reward region. We show that stress stably induces SIRT1 expression in this brain region and that altering
Wolffgramm, J; Heyne, A
The development of drug taking from controlled intake to drug addiction was studied by means of an animal model. Outbred rats had continuous free access to water and drinking fluids containing different concentrations of a drug for 7-9 months. After an abstinence period of 4-9 months, the drug was offered again (retest). Previous ethological classification of each rat and changes of housing conditions were used to study the modifiability of drug taking. With ethanol and the mu-agonistic opiate etonitazene, two stages followed each other. Controlled drug intake was adjusted to situational and individual variables. Social isolation of the rats raised the intake of ethanol and opiate. Dominant rats took less drugs than subordinate ones, but, in contrast to the latter, increased drug consumption after social disturbances. The adjustment of drug taking to social variables, was accompanied by changes in the dopaminergic and GABAA-ergic neurotransmission and by altered responses to acute drug administrations. Further, place preference, associated with reinforcing stimuli was modulated by subchronic sensitization/desensitization of dopaminergic transmission. Controlled drug intake lasted for 6-8 months, after which a spontaneous increase of drug consumption was found which latently continued during abstinence periods of 1 month. In the retest after abstinence, drug intake of these rats was strongly increased compared with both their previous consumption and that of drug-naive controls. Since drug taking could no longer be modulated by gustatory, environmental or individual factors (loss of control), it was considered as addictive. Addiction appeared to be specific to the kind of the drug. It persisted for the rest of the rat's life. After long periods of abstinence, ethanol-addicted rats revealed a completely altered pattern of response to self-administered alcohol compared with controlled drinkers. Their dopaminergic D1-transmission was irreversibly altered. Drug
Gray, Cloe Luckett; Krebs-Kraft, Desiree L; Solomon, Matia B; Norvelle, Alisa; Parent, Marise B; Huhman, Kim L
consolidation of CD. Collectively, the present results indicate that noradrenergic activity promotes the consolidation of CD and suggest that CD is a valuable model to study the processes by which emotion and stress modulate memory in an ethologically relevant context. These data also suggest that the popular conception in the clinical literature that the anxiolytic effect of propranolol is primarily due to the drug's peripheral effects may need to be reconsidered.
Pico-Alfonso, M Angeles; Mastorci, Francesca; Ceresini, Graziano; Ceda, Gian Paolo; Manghi, Massimo; Pino, Olimpia; Troisi, Alfonso; Sgoifo, Andrea
Theoretical statements, as well as clinical and experimental data, suggest that the amplitude of cardiovascular reactivity to acute stressors can be a good predictor of preclinical and clinical cardiovascular states. The aim of the present study is to investigate the role of estrogens, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical activity, and the behavioral profile in individual cardiac autonomic reactivity to brief laboratory stressors in women. Thirty-six adult, healthy women were exposed to a stress interview and a mental task test, each lasting 5 min. They were assigned to two experimental groups: D4, i.e. 4 days after menses beginning (follicular phase, n=18), and D14, i.e. 14 days after menses beginning (ovulatory phase, n=18). The cardiac measurements in the baseline, stress and recovery periods consisted in heart rate (average R-R interval) and parasympathetic tone (r-MSSD) quantification, while the HPA axis activity and stress reactivity were assessed via plasma cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone concentrations. The ethological profile during the interview was drawn by means of non-verbal behavior analysis. The cardiac, adrenocortical and behavioral responses to the two stressors were similar in groups D4 and D14, despite significantly higher estradiol levels in the latter. Subjects with higher pre-stress cortisol levels had higher heart rate and lower vagal activity in the baseline, stress and recovery phases. Women showing higher level of submission were characterized by higher heart rate acceleration and vagal withdrawal during both the interview and the recovery phase. In addition, the subjects that exhibited greater displacement during the interview were also characterized by lower heart rate increments and less pronounced vagal suppression during post-stress recovery. In conclusion, the present results do not support a clear buffering role of estrogens in cardiovascular response to acute stressors. However, they confirm that baseline HPA axis activity
Thanos, Panayotis K; Restif, Christophe; O'Rourke, Joseph R; Lam, Chiu Yin; Metaxas, Dimitris
Rodents are the most commonly used preclinical model of human disease assessing the mechanism(s) involved as well as the role of genetics, epigenetics, and pharmacotherapy on this disease as well as identifying vulnerability factors and risk assessment for disease critical in the development of improved treatment strategies. Unfortunately, the majority of rodent preclinical studies utilize single housed approaches where animals are either entirely housed and tested in solitary environments or group housed but tested in solitary environments. This approach, however, ignores the important contribution of social interaction and social behavior. Social interaction in rodents is found to be a major criterion for the ethological validity of rodent species-specific behavioral characteristics (Zurn et al. 2007; Analysis 2011). It is also well established that there is significant and growing number of reports, which illustrates the important role of social environment and social interaction in all diseases, with particularly significance in all neuropsychiatric diseases. Thus, it is imperative that research studies be able to add large-scale evaluations of social interaction and behavior in mice and benefit from automated tracking of behaviors and measurements by removing user bias and by quantifying aspects of behaviors that cannot be assessed by a human observer. Single mouse setups have been used routinely, but cannot be easily extended to multiple-animal studies where social behavior is key, e.g., autism, depression, anxiety, substance and non-substance addictive disorders, aggression, sexual behavior, or parenting. While recent efforts are focusing on multiple-animal tracking alone, a significant limitation remains the lack of insightful measures of social interactions. We present a novel, non-invasive single camera-based automated tracking method described as Mouse Social Test (MoST) and set of measures designed for estimating the interactions of multiple mice at the
Garcia-Garcia, A L; Meng, Q; Richardson-Jones, J; Dranovsky, A; Leonardo, E D
Current evidence suggests that anxiety disorders have developmental origins. Early insults to the circuits that sub-serve emotional regulation are thought to cause disease later in life. Evidence from studies in mice demonstrate that the serotonergic system in general, and serotonin 1A (5-HT1A) receptors in particular, are critical during the early postnatal period for the normal development of circuits that subserve anxious behavior. However, little is known about the role of serotonin signaling through 5-HT1A receptors between the emergence of normal anxiety behavior after weaning, and the mature adult phenotype. Here, we use both transgenic and pharmacological approaches in male mice, to identify a sensitive period for 5-HT1A function in the stabilization of circuits mediating anxious behavior during adolescence. Using a transgenic approach we show that suppression of 5-HT1A receptor expression beginning in early adolescence results in an anxiety-like phenotype in the open field test. We further demonstrate that treatment with the 5-HT1A antagonist WAY 100,635 between postnatal day (P)35 and P50, but not at later timepoints, results in altered anxiety in ethologically based conflict tests like the open field test and elevated plus maze. This change in anxiety behavior occurs without impacting behavior in the more depression-related sucrose preference test or forced swim test. The treatment with WAY 100,635 does not affect adult 5-HT1A expression levels, but leads to increased expression of the serotonin transporter in the raphe, along with enhanced serotonin levels in both the prefrontal cortex and raphe that correlate with the behavioral changes observed in adult mice. This work demonstrates that signaling through 5-HT1A receptors during adolescence (a time when pathological anxiety emerges), but not early adulthood, is critical in regulating anxiety setpoints. These data suggest the possibility that brief interventions in the serotonergic system during
Loftus, Loni; Marks, Kelly; Jones-McVey, Rosie; Gonzales, Jose L; Fowler, Veronica L
Effective training of horses relies on the trainer's awareness of learning theory and equine ethology, and should be undertaken with skill and time. Some trainers, such as Monty Roberts, share their methods through the medium of public demonstrations. This paper describes the opportunistic analysis of beat-to-beat (RR) intervals and heart rate variability (HRV) of ten horses being used in Monty Roberts' public demonstrations within the United Kingdom. RR and HRV was measured in the stable before training and during training. The HRV variables standard deviation of the RR interval (SDRR), root mean square of successive RR differences (RMSSD), geometric means standard deviation 1 (SD1) and 2 (SD2), along with the low and high frequency ratio (LF/HF ratio) were calculated. The minimum, average and maximum RR intervals were significantly lower in training (indicative of an increase in heart rate as measured in beats-per-minute) than in the stable ( p = 0.0006; p = 0.01; p = 0.03). SDRR, RMSSD, SD1, SD2 and the LF/HF ratio were all significantly lower in training than in the stable ( p = 0.001; p = 0.049; p = 0.049; p = 0.001; p = 0.01). When comparing the HR and HRV of horses during Join-up (®) to overall training, there were no significant differences in any variable with the exception of maximum RR which was significantly lower ( p = 0.007) during Join-up (®) , indicative of short increases in physical exertion (canter) associated with this training exercise. In conclusion, training of horses during public demonstrations is a low-moderate physiological, rather than psychological stressor for horses. The physiological stress responses observed within this study were comparable or less to those previously reported in the literature for horses being trained outside of public audience events. Furthermore, there is no evidence that the use of Join-up (®) alters HR and HRV in a way to suggest that this training method negatively affects the psychological welfare of
Jacobs, Lucia F; Menzel, Randolf
Space is continuous. But the communities of researchers that study the cognitive map in non-humans are strangely divided, with debate over its existence found among behaviorists but not neuroscientists. To reconcile this and other debates within the field of navigation, we return to the concept of the parallel map theory, derived from data on hippocampal function in laboratory rodents. Here the cognitive map is redefined as the integrated map, which is a construction of dual mechanisms, one based on directional cues (bearing map) and the other on positional cues (sketch map). We propose that the dual navigational mechanisms of pigeons, the navigational map and the familiar area map, could be homologous to these mammalian parallel maps; this has implications for both research paradigms. Moreover, this has implications for the lab. To create a bearing map (and hence integrated map) from extended cues requires self-movement over a large enough space to sample and model these cues at a high resolution. Thus a navigator must be able to move freely to map extended cues; only then should the weighted hierarchy of available navigation mechanisms shift in favor of the integrated map. Because of the paucity of extended cues in the lab, the flexible solutions allowed by the integrated map should be rare, despite abundant neurophysiological evidence for the existence of the machinery needed to encode and map extended cues through voluntary movement. Not only do animals need to map extended cues but they must also have sufficient information processing capacity. This may require a specific ontogeny, in which the navigator's nervous system is exposed to naturally complex spatial contingencies, a circumstance that occurs rarely, if ever, in the lab. For example, free-ranging, flying animals must process more extended cues than walking animals and for this reason alone, the integrated map strategy may be found more reliably in some species. By taking concepts from ethology and the
Background Fishermen’s knowledge is a source of indispensable information in decision-making processes related to efforts to stimulate the management and conservation of fishing resources, especially in developing countries. This study analyzed the knowledge of fishermen from three municipal areas of Bahia in northeast Brazil regarding the behavior repertoire of sharks and the possible influence that these perceptions may have on the inclination to preserve these animals. This is a pioneering study on the ethnobiological aspects of elasmobranchs in Brazil. Methods Open, semi-structured interviews with shark fishing specialists were conducted between September 2011 and October 2012. The interviews addressed the fishermen’s profile, fishing techniques and knowledge about sharks, focusing on the behaviours exhibited by sharks. The data were analysed with quantitative approach and conducted with the use of descriptive statistical techniques. Results Sixty-five fishermen were interviewed. They descend from the rafting subculture of Brazil’s northeast, which has historically been disregarded by public policies addressing the management and conservation of fishing resources. The fishing fleet involved in shark fishing includes rafts, fishing boats and lobster boats equipped with fishing lines, gillnets, longlines and “esperas”. The informers classified sharks’ behaviour repertoire into 19 ethological categories, related especially to feeding, reproduction, and social and migratory behaviours. Because they identify sharks as predators, the detailed recognition of the behaviours exhibited is crucial both for an efficient catch and to avoid accidents. Therefore, this knowledge is doubly adaptive as it contributes to safer, more lucrative fishing. A feeling of respect for sharks predominates, since informers recognize the ecological role of these animals in marine ecosystems, attributing them the status of leader (or “the man”) in the sea. Conclusions This
Kaner, Eileen; Heaven, Ben; Rapley, Tim; Murtagh, Madeleine; Graham, Ruth; Thomson, Richard; May, Carl
Background Much of the research on decision-making in health care has focused on consultation outcomes. Less is known about the process by which clinicians and patients come to a treatment decision. This study aimed to quantitatively describe the behaviour shown by doctors and patients during primary care consultations when three types of decision aids were used to promote treatment decision-making in a randomised controlled trial. Methods A video-based study set in an efficacy trial which compared the use of paper-based guidelines (control) with two forms of computer-based decision aids (implicit and explicit versions of DARTS II). Treatment decision concerned warfarin anti-coagulation to reduce the risk of stroke in older patients with atrial fibrillation. Twenty nine consultations were video-recorded. A ten-minute 'slice' of the consultation was sampled for detailed content analysis using existing interaction analysis protocols for verbal behaviour and ethological techniques for non-verbal behaviour. Results Median consultation times (quartiles) differed significantly depending on the technology used. Paper-based guidelines took 21 (19–26) minutes to work through compared to 31 (16–41) minutes for the implicit tool; and 44 (39–55) minutes for the explicit tool. In the ten minutes immediately preceding the decision point, GPs dominated the conversation, accounting for 64% (58–66%) of all utterances and this trend was similar across all three arms of the trial. Information-giving was the most frequent activity for both GPs and patients, although GPs did this at twice the rate compared to patients and at higher rates in consultations involving computerised decision aids. GPs' language was highly technically focused and just 7% of their conversation was socio-emotional in content; this was half the socio-emotional content shown by patients (15%). However, frequent head nodding and a close mirroring in the direction of eye-gaze suggested that both parties
Mangano, M.G.; Buatois, L.A.; West, R.R.; Maples, C.G.
bivalve. Lockeia ornata exhibits distinctive, fine, parallel lines that mimic the ornamentation of Phestia, a nuculanid protobranch bivalve. Rosary and radial structures give evidence of a patterned search for food. Lockeia ornata and associated Protovirgularia record dominant horizontal locomoton and suggest the activity of deposit-feeding bivalves. Morphologic variability of Protovirgularia was controlled by substrate fluidity, which was dependent on sediment heterogeneity and tidal-cycle dynamics. This study demonstrates that detailed analysis of bivalve traces provides valuable information on bivalve ethology and paleoecology, evolutionary innovations, environmental dynamics, and substrate fluidity.
Corona; Soto; Sánchez
habitats through the study of the relationship between habitat physical complexity and predator-prey interactions. They also emphasise that inherent biological and ethological factors of the predator and prey involved, coupled to spatial and temporal variations in the habitat, should also be considered.
Rumbaugh, Duane M.
important advance in our efforts to understand the richness of behavior in both humans and nonhuman animals. Although not presented to that end, the book might also serve to bridge communications with other groups of animal researchers whose interests lie more in a comparative or ethological framework.
Loftus, Loni; Marks, Kelly; Jones-McVey, Rosie; Gonzales, Jose L.; Fowler, Veronica L.
Simple Summary Monty Roberts is a famous horse trainer, commonly referred to as a ‘horse whisperer’, who shares his training methods all over the world, including through large public audience events. These events have the potential to compromise the horse’s welfare since the horses have usually been transported to the event on the day and stabled in an unfamiliar environment before being used in demonstrations watched by hundreds of people. This paper describes the opportunistic collection and analysis of heart rate (HR; beat-to-beat intervals) and heart rate variability (HRV) of horses being trained during Monty Roberts’ public demonstrations within the United Kingdom. HR and HRV measured during the demonstrations were lower (indicative of an increase in heart rate as measured in beats-per-minute) than recordings within the stable and consistent with low-moderate exercise intensities used during training. The HR and HRV during a specific training method known as “Join-up®” were comparable to other methods of training used by Monty Roberts during public demonstrations. In conclusion, training of horses during public demonstrations is a low-moderate physiological, rather than psychological stressor for horses, with the stress response comparable or less than those previously reported in the literature for horses being trained outside of public audience events. Furthermore, we found no evidence that Join-up® alters HR and HRV in a way to suggest that this training method negatively affects the psychological welfare of horses. Abstract Effective training of horses relies on the trainer’s awareness of learning theory and equine ethology, and should be undertaken with skill and time. Some trainers, such as Monty Roberts, share their methods through the medium of public demonstrations. This paper describes the opportunistic analysis of beat-to-beat (RR) intervals and heart rate variability (HRV) of ten horses being used in Monty Roberts’ public
language in the true sense I have extended his concept into ethology and bio-semiotics by talking of sign games related to specific motivations and innate response mechanisms. Life as such seems to be an anticipatory function generating expectations through evolution through open genetic programs as Konrad Lorenz pointed out. The phenomenon of imprinting in ducks for instance is a standard example of programmed anticipation. Expectations are expectations of meaning and order (information) related to the semiosphere the organism constructs as its individual world view and live in. (The Umwelt of von Uexküll). On this basis events that perpetuates the semiosphere are reduced to meaning, i.e. something related to the survival and procreation of the individual living system, it conatus, to use one of Spinoza's terms. The framework of cybersemiotics, uniting second order cybernetics, semiotics and language game theory, is created to make transdisciplinary concepts and models that can handle the process of cognition, information and communication across the domains of the sciences, the arts and social sciences in a non-reductionistic way. It is seen as an alternative based on biological and semiotic thinking (biosemiotics) to the functionalistic information processing paradigm of cognitive science that is build on the computer as paradigm and based on classical logic and mechanistic physics—and therefore has severe problems of dealing with semantics and signification.
Teutsch, Gotthard M
It is for reasons of age I will have to terminate my work at the Literary Review in the form developed since 1995. The report is being reduced to a concentration of ethically relevant reviews as exemplified in the fourth-quarter issue of ALTEX. This is to ascertain that essential developments in this field will not be overlooked. Insofar, the Literary Review will be continued under the heading "New literature concerning topics of animal ethics". The more central topics of animal ethics are being "used up" the more new questions are being formulated. Thus it was that during the last few years the plant-world, long neglected, was rediscovered and received attention through the publication of important works. Another recent discovery concerns itself with "cognitive ethology" which developed out of the critique of behaviourism and which is dealt with in a separate chapter in this issue. But there is also a "classic" of ethics who has been reviewed and interpreted anew repeatedly. In her book "Albert Schweitzer, a prophet of medical ethics", Heike Baranzke describes Schweitzer's ethics as not sentimental or nostalgic but rather as a radically modern stance, committed to the enlightenment. Manuel Schneider, also, conveys a comprehensive view of Albert Schweitzer's ethics in "Life in the middle of life - the relevance of the ethics of Albert Schweitzer", a book edited by Altner, Frambach, Gottwald and himself in 2005. For this, in particular, he derives a possibility of a physiocentric ethics. By contrast, Beate Weinzierl approaches Schweitzer on a complete personal and human level in "Yearning for nature - access to inner and outer nature with Albert Schweitzer". Wolfgang Senz is undertaking a critical appreciation of Albert Schweitzer's concept of "life" and this, foremost, in the light of Schweitzer's rejection of the Cartesian "I am". In the end, Jean Claude Wolf cannot manage without citing Schweitzer either, referring to him in his not accepting the (western) world
Raibaut, André; Combes, Claude; Benoit, Françoise
as follows: (1) In many cases, parasite and host phylogeny seem to play an important role. There are fish families with copepods and families with few species of these parasites. The phyletic constraints could be due to the morphological characteristics of the habitat (e.g. structure of the gills) or biological/ecological characteristics that we were unable to identify. (2) It appears that the presence in a same environment of related fish species (e.g. several species of the same genus, or numerous genera of the same family) is correlated with high parasite richness. A likely explanation is that such situations favours alternated processes of lateral transfers and speciation. (3) Some eco-ethological criteria seem to favour the establishment of a large parasite species richness. It should be noted for instance that Mediterranean fishes the most often infected with copepods are generally nectonic or pelagic, migratory, and gregarious species.
Along with a general redirection of values in agriculture, the need for action arises for veterinary medicine and other life sciences to establish suitable tools for the objective assessment of housing conditions with regard to their appropriateness concerning animal welfare. First communication between the disciplines involved demands a uniform use of terms. Assessment can be carried out generally either directly by using pathological, physiological and ethological reactions of the animals as criteria or indirectly by the means of technical criteria. Both approaches can indicate poor or good conditions with regard to animal welfare and are generally agreed upon. However using these measures in practise often yields problems referring to the methodology and to the results that are hard to interpret. Criteria referring to the state of the animals have a reduced meaningfulness due to the following aspects: A lot of criteria are lacking sensibility and specificity, which leads to a small diagnostic selectivity. A large number of sources for variance aggravate the use of reference values in order to distinguish between normal or abnormal levels. In many cases there is a lack of firm evidence that the level of changes correlates with the health and welfare of the animals. Due to contradictions caused by the differing properties of the variables being measured the measures do not always co-vary. Results and conclusions of the assessments are closely connected to the specific experimental design and cannot easily be transferred to the housing conditions in practice showing a large variance. Therefore criteria referring to the animals can be used primarily for the assessment of standardized or serial produced housing systems, where a direct comparison between systems is permissible. In order to find out the weak points of the housing conditions concerning animal welfare, on-farm assessment can be carried out more advantageous by using design criteria. Those criteria can be
Wall, P M; Messier, C
The present report investigated the contributions of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex to the control of spontaneous alternation/working memory and anxiety-related behaviour. In Experiment 1, we examined the effects of microinjections of the selective kappa(1) receptor agonist, U-69,593, in the infralimbic cortex (IL) of CD-1 mice on several ethologically-derived anxiety indices in the elevated plus-maze (EPM) and defensive/withdrawal (D/W) anxiety in the open field, as well as on memory in the EPM transfer-latency (T-L) test and implicit spontaneous alternation memory (SAP) in the Y-maze. In week 1, pretreatment with one injection of vehicle, 1, 10 or 25 nmol/1.0 microliter U-69,593 in the IL dose-dependently prolonged T-L and produced a dose-dependent anxiolytic behavioural profile in the first EPM trial. Following a 24-h delay, the same mice were given a drug-free second trial in the EPM tests of T-L memory and anxiety. Whereas T-L memory was not disturbed, small but detectable carry-over effects were observed in trial-2 EPM behaviour relative to vehicle-treated animals. In week 2, the same groups of mice were again pretreated with one injection of the same doses of U-69,593 in the IL and given a D/W test in an open field, followed immediately by an 8-min SAP trial in the Y-maze. The smallest U-69,593 dose was anxiolytic in the D/W test, and SAP/working memory was dose-dependently enhanced in the Y-maze. In Experiment 2, we evaluated whether 0.5 microliter volume microinjections would produce comparable behavioural and carry-over effects in the IL of three new groups of CD-1 mice, in the event that the 1.0 microl volume injections used in Experiment 1 diffused beyond the IL and therefore may have confounded some effects. Experiment 2 procedures were carried out in the same manner as in Experiment 1, except the animals were tested in reverse order. Thus in week 1, SAP memory was tested in the Y-maze followed by D/W anxiety in the open field for half of the
Julien, Marie-Anne; Dorothée, Drucker; Hervé, Bocherens; Ariane, Burke; Marylène, Patou-Mathis; Alexandra, Krotova
Bison are one of the most abundant and widely distributed species of large mammal during the Late Pleistocene. In the southern steppes of Eastern Europe, steppe bison (Bison priscus) is ubiquitous in zooarchaeological assemblages, particularly during the Upper Palaeolithic when a model of economic "specialization" is proposed. Specialization, in this context, implies the deliberate selection of a preferred species, which becomes the key food resource. The applicability of a specialised hunting model for the Upper Palaeolithic of Europe has recently been challenged, however (Grayson & Delpech 2002). In this research, therefore we re-examine bison acquisition strategies during the Upper Palaeolithic in the Ukrainian steppes in the light of biogeochemical and zooarchaeological data. The acquisition strategies used to procure a prey species are directly related to its social and spatial behaviour. A synthesis of ethological information for contemporary bison (Julien 2009) demonstrates the behavioural diversity of this taxa, linked mainly to local environmental variability, climatic conditions and population density. It is therefore necessary to propose a paleoethological model for the steppe bison before attempting to identify the acquisition strategies used by prehistoric hunters. In this research, we reconstruct the behaviour of the steppe bison using a combination of zooarchaeological tools, stable isotope analysis (intra-tooth isotope variation of carbon, oxygen and strontium ratios) and traditional paleobiological approaches. The advantages of using a combined approach are demonstrated through the examination of a case study: the site of Amvrosievka (Ukraine). Amvrosievka is a complex of Epigravettian sites composed of a camp and kill site, where more than 500 bison are represented (Krotova & Belan 1993). Twenty-five permanent lower teeth (M3) representing twenty-five individual bison were selected from the kill and camp site for isotopic analysis. Intra- and
Human brain evolution and the "Neuroevolutionary Time-depth Principle:" Implications for the Reclassification of fear-circuitry-related traits in DSM-V and for studying resilience to warzone-related posttraumatic stress disorder.
Bracha, H Stefan
-clustering fear traits based on behavioral ethology, human-phylogenomics-derived endophenotypes and on ontogenomics (gene-environment interactions) can be confirmed or disconfirmed using epidemiological or twin studies and psychiatric genomics.
Diedrich, Cajus G.
. (in review). Cave bear killers and scavengers from the last European Ice Age. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology. Diedrich, C., Žák, K. 2006. Prey deposits and den sites of the Upper Pleistocene hyena Crocuta crocuta spelaea (Goldfuss, 1823) in horizontal and vertical caves of the Bohemian Karst (Czech Republic). Bulletin of Geosciences, 81 (4), 237-276. Diedrich, C., Robu, M., Dragusin, V., Constantin, S., Moldovan, O., 2009. New Upper Pleistocene steppe lion skeleton finds between the cave bear hibernation plateaus of the Ursilor Cave bear den, Romania. Abstractc 15th International Cave Bear Symposium, Spisska Nova Ves Slovakia, 10. Diedrich, C., Moldovan, O., Constantin, S. 2009. Cave bear tracks, scratch marks, hair traces and hibernation nests in the Ursilor Cave (Transylvania, Romania) - preliminary report from a famous European cave bear den. - Stalactite, 58 (2): 48-52. Diedrich, C., Moldovan, O. 2010. Ichnological and ethological studies in one of Europe's famous bear den in the Ursilor Cave (Carpathians, Romania). - Quarternary International (accepted). Rabeder, G., Nagel, D., Pacher, M., 2000. Der Höhlenbär. Stuttgart: Thorbecke.