Animal Behavior Screencasts

missing image

Screencasts (video podcasts) hosted by Dr. David B. Miller Professor Emeritus at The University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, U.S.A. These screencasts were formerly used in Dr. Miller's Animal Behavior course from 2009 to 2017, prior to his retirement.

0 Likes     0 Followers     0 Subscribers

Sign up / Log in to like, follow, recommend and subscribe!

Screencasts (video podcasts) hosted by Dr. David B. Miller Professor Emeritus at The University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, U.S.A. These screencasts were formerly used in Dr. Miller's Animal Behavior course from 2009 to 2017, prior to his retirement.
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2018-11-12 09:17
last episode published
2018-11-12 09:17
publication frequency
6.6 days
David B. Miller owner   managing editor   author  
Number of Episodes
Detail page
Education Science & Medicine Natural Sciences Higher Education



Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors

Development: Episode 9: Early Experience (FINAL EPISODE IN THIS SERIES)

Early experience greatly affects behavioral development. Here we look at different ways of experimentally addressing how that takes place. THIS IS THE FINAL EPISODE OF THE ANIMAL BEHAVIOR SCREENCASTS SERIES. ALL EPISODES WILL REMAIN AVAILABLE ON iTUN...

Development: Episode 8: Reformulation of Imprinting

Konrad Lorenz’s original imprinting question concerned species recognition in relation to mate selection. This reformulation drills down to individual recognition as a possible mechanism underlying incest avoidance in relation to a model of optimal ou...

Development: Episode 7: Problems with Imprinting

Imprinting is a powerful phenomenon, but the manner in which it is studied experimentally is sometimes questionable, ranging from the tasks that animals are required to do to demonstrate preferences to the issue of redirecting species-typical preferenc...

Development: Episode 6: Critical Periods

The concept of critical periods is often associated with imprinting as well as other phenomena ranging from experimental embryology to language development. The experimental study of critical periods, however, usually ignores a critical methodological...

Development: Episode 5: Imprinting

An examination of sexual and filial imprinting (social attachments) from an historical perspective.

Development: Episode 4: Behavioral Embryology

Important events occur before birth or hatching, both in terms of embryonic movements and the influences of incoming sensory information. The extent of significant contributions to postnatal development can depend on how "altriciality" or "precocialit...

Development: Episode 3: Experience

The ways that experience, both prenatal and postnatal, can affect behavioral development can often times be obvious (linear) or not so obvious (nonlinear). There are also 5 different ways in which either form of experience can greatly affect developme...

Development: Episode 2: Nature-Nurture Controversy

Developmental systems and a consideration of evidence inconsistent with genetic determinism, such as the C-value paradox and contextual & experiential activation of genetic activity. Also, epigenetics, and flawed views of so-called interactionism,...

Development: Episode 1: General Conceptual Issues

To paraphrase animal behaviorists T. C. Schneirla and Niko Tinbergen, an understanding of animal behavior necessitates an understanding of how behavior actually develops, beginning prenatally. Here, we look at a few issues concerning developmental sci...

Communication: Episode 16: Ape Language Controversy

A look at the controversy surrounding the ape language controversy, including the apes Vicki, Washoe, Sarah, Lana, Sherman & Austin, Nim, Kanzi, and Panbanisha.

Communication: Episode 15: Other Senses

Some nonhuman organisms use senses that are undeveloped in humans. As discussed here, these include electrical communication, magnetic sensitivity, surface wave communication, and dome pressure sensitivity.

Communication: Episode 14: Tactile

Many species communicate via touch (tactile communication), including allogrooming, allopreening, etc. Here, we look at some examples, including swarming onset by locusts and tandem running in ants.

Communication: Episode 13: Olfaction

Many animals communicate via odor molecules. Here we look at comparative aspects of olfaction, including underwater odor communication as well as olfactory receptors in the antennae of cockroaches.

Communication: Episode 12: Vocal Imitation

Some bird species have excellent abilities to imitate other species of birds as well as other sounds. This brief episode shows a few examples.

Communication: Episode 11: Song Complexity

Some animal vocalizations are relatively simple in acoustic structure, but many are also very complex and can be energetically costly to produce. So, why produce them? Here we examine some data on frog and bird vocalizations that offer possible expla...

Communication: Episode 10: Methods of Studying Bird Song

In an attempt to ascertain how some species of song birds learn their songs, researchers have developed techniques to disrupt auditory input as well as output and assess the results on adult song.

Communication: Episode 9: Bird Song Complexity, Mechanisms, and Development

An examination of the complexity of bird song, the syrinx—a structure that is primarily responsible for it, and how song develops from nestlings to adults.

Communication: Episode 8: Sonic & Symbolic Communication

How nonhuman animals use sounds within the human hearing range to refer to specific items, such as threats from potential predators as well as food items.

Communication: Episode 7: Ultrasounds & Infrasounds

Many nonhuman species send and receive auditory signals outside the range of human hearing. Low-frequency infrasound and high-frequency ultrasounds play numerous roles, as discussed here.

Communication: Episode 6: Infrared & Ultraviolet Communication

Infrared & ultraviolet senses are used extensively by a wide variety of nonhuman organisms, even though these senses are outside the range of visible light to which humans are sensitive. Some examples shown here involve California Ground Squirrel ...

Communication: Episode 5: Bioluminescence

Bioluminescence is a form of visual communication involving pulses of light produced by specific organs in a variety of species, such as deep-sea fishes, jellyfishes, and fireflies.

Communication: Episode 4: Visual Communication

Various aspects of how animals communicate visually, including the waggle dance of honey bees, how honeyguides help Boran people locate honey, asymmetrical tail-wagging of dogs that reflect different emotional states, and mockingbird recognition of thr...

Communication: Episode 3: Localization

Locating the source of an animal vocalizing ranges from relatively easy to quite difficult, and it all depends on structure of the signal. Easy-to-localize sounds are used for specific purposes, and difficult-to-localize sounds are used for other purp...

Communication: Episode 2: Physical Aspects

How nonhuman organisms deal with environmental noise to enable effective communication. Noise includes signal attenuation and signal degradation, and has effects on stimulus detection and stimulus recognition.

Communication: Episode 1: Definition & Neuronal Mechanisms

The definition of communication is complex and somewhat controversial. We'll explore why that's the case, and then move on to some neuronal mechanisms enabling effective communication.

Mating Behavior: Episode 7: Mating Systems

Different species have different mating systems that characterize the primary (though not solely) means under which reproduction occurs. Here, we examine perennial & seasonal monogamy, polygamy, including polygyny & polyandry, and promiscuity,...

Mating Behavior: Episode 6: Breeding Synchrony

An examination of 3 reasons why some species of nonhuman organisms breed synchronously: Optimal Resource Availability; Social Foraging; and, Avoiding Predation.

Mating Behavior: Episode 5: Speciation

An examination of sexual selection in relation to speciation, including runaway sexual selection and sensory exploitation.

Mating Behavior: Episode 4: Inbreeding

Deleterious effects of inbreeding in lions, and mechanisms of incest avoidance in zebra finches via female choice of male song, and incest compensation in shore birds via extra-pair mating.

Mating Behavior: Episode 3: Female Choice of Mate

When it comes to sexual selection, males court females, and females choose with whom to mate (with a few exceptions). Thus, female choice of mate is critical, and here we describe examples of this as well as related phenomena such as the Handicap Prin...

Mating Behavior: Episode 2: Male Dominance

Males compete for females in a variety of ways: competitive mate searching, various mechanisms of sperm competition, and overt conflict. This screencast portrays each of these with a variety of examples.

Mating Behavior: Episode 1: Sexual Selection

The Darwinian concept of sexual selection, explored through examples of sexual dimorphism, how females can benefit by being choosy when selecting a mate, what cues females might use to assess potential mates.

Hormones & Semiochemicals: Episode 4: Pheromones

Pheromones are semiochemicals that typically communicate within a species for such purposes as territory marking and sexual behavior. Occasionally, they might operate between species, as we'll see in this screencast.

Hormones & Semiochemicals: Episode 3: Allelochemics

Allelochemics are semiochemicals (i.e., chemicals that have either communicative value or anti-predator benefits) that communicate between different species. Three subclasses of allelochemics are allomones (that benefit the sender), kairomones (that b...

Hormones & Semiochemicals: Episode 2: Interaction of Hormones & Behavior

The reproductive behavior of ring doves has been investigated thoroughly beginning with the pioneering studies by Daniel S. Lehrman and his associates. His work, which is described here, nicely illustrates how external environmental factors cause the ...
David B. Miller author

Hormones & Semiochemicals: Episode 1: Activational & Organizational Effects of Hormones

An examination of how how hormones have an immediate (activation) effect and how they have a longer-term (organizational) effect on behavior.

Domestication: Episode 3: Degeneration vs. Context

What happens to animals during the domestication process? Is their behavioral altered in a way that renders them “abnormal,” or are any observed behavioral changes due to the context in which domestic animals are maintained? The Russian geneticist Di...

Domestication: Episode 2: Domestication as a Social Process

Domestication is viewed as one of several social processes involving a "guest" as the exploiting species and a "host" as the exploiting species. Other processes include symbiosis, scavenging, robbing, social parasitism, and taming. Each of these are ...

Domestication: Episode 1: Introduction to Domestication

The process of domestication as analogous to natural selection, examples of domesticated animals, including an historical perspective leading back to Darwin. Also, experimental studies of artificial selection, and the steps necessary to create domesti...

Evolution & Adaptation: Episode 10: Development and Evolution

An examination of changes in timing of developmental events over evolutionary time—a phenomenon known as "heterochrony," which covers both accelerated development across evolution as well as neoteny, a slowing down of developmental events.

Evolution & Adaptation: Episode 9: Cultural Evolution

Ways in which cultural evolution can occur and numerous examples in a birds, nonhuman primates, and whales.

Evolution & Adaptation: Episode 8: Hyperselectionism & Exaptation

Here, we explore whether every behavior has necessarily been selected for its current role, or if they were originally selected for a different role. The term “exaptation” helps to distinguish between these alternatives, as we consider a number of exa...

Evolution & Adaptation: Episode 7: Adaptation

Numerous examples of animal adaptation among a wide variety of species, including the relationship between adaptation and speciation illustrated by Darwin's Finches.

Evolution & Adaptation: Episode 6: Speciation

Examples of ecological speciation, ecological character displacement, and geographic isolation, as mechanisms by which speciation can occur.

Evolution & Adaptation: Episode 5: Rates of Evolution

Is the rate of evolutionary change gradual or rapid? This screencast explores the Darwinian rate of gradualism vs. salvationism, or punctuated equilibrium. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Evolution & Adaptation: Episode 4: Altruism

Examples of altruism and reciprocal altruism, plus mechanisms of kin recognition.

Evolution & Adaptation: Episode 3: Altruism, Cooperation, Hybrids

Examples of altruism, cooperation, kin selection, and animal hybrids.

Evolution & Adaptation: Episode 2: Units of Selection

A discussion about 3 units of natural selection: Individual (Darwinian), Genic, and Group Selection, and how Group Selection is not necessarily inconsistent with Individual Selection.

Evolution & Adaptation: Episode 1: Evolution Scorecard

Evolution's scorecard in terms of its coverage in schools in the United States. Also, a brief look at how creationism may have played a role in undermining the public's understanding of evolution. Finally, a look at Darwin's "missing evidence"—indus...

Ethological Concepts: Episode 4: Innate & Instinctive Behavior

The distinction between innate and instinctive behavior. Also, an examination of fixed action patterns, consummatory acts, action-specific energy, and Konrad Lorenz’s model of instinctive behavior.