Animal Behavior


BIOL 4734

Animal Behavior

 Fall ______

Lecture: ________

School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences


Instructor:  Dr. Christopher G. Sims

Office:  B 14

Office Phone:  460-1664

E-mail:  simsc@uamont.edu

Office Hours:   otherwise by appointment. 


Textbook: John Alcock, Animal Behavior: An Evolutionary Approach, Seventh Edition.

Course Prerequisites:  BIOL 1063


Objectives:  In this course we will study the behavior of animals, focusing specifically on the evolutionary and ecological significance of these behaviors.  Topics include genetics of behavior, ethology, adaptation, fitness, reproductive tactics/mating systems, foraging, and social behavior. 


Course Grade:         Lecture:                                                                           

                    3 Lecture Exams:                                                                                               100 pts. each                        

                                    Final Exam:                                                                                                        100 pts.                 



                    lab summaries/article summaries (# to be determined):                   10 pts. each

                    Lab Total                                                                                                           200 pts.


                    Course total:                                                                                                    600 pts.


*******NO EXTRA CREDIT will be given under any circumstances!!!


Each student will choose a code number/code name prior to the first test and this will be used to post grades.  Grades will be posted either by hard copy or on the Internet.  If you do not wish to have your grade posted please let the instructor know prior to the first test.  Grades will not be provided over the phone or by E-mail.


Attendance, Testing, and Cheating:  Attendance in this course is mandatory.  Attendance will be recorded regularly and anyone missing 6 class days will be dropped from the course unless appropriate documentation can be provided.  Your success in this course is directly dependent on your attendance and participation in lectures. 

Exam attendance is required and make-up exams will be given only under extreme circumstances.  Make-up exams will be allowed only in cases of illness with a doctor’s excuse, excused university functions, or family emergencies with a written excuse from a family member.  If you are forced to miss an exam you must notify me within 24 hours of the exam.  Failure to do so will result in a zero on that exam.  If you know ahead of time that you will be absent please let me know and prior arrangements for testing can be made. 

                Cheating in any form will not be tolerated and will automatically result in failure of the course.  Cellular phones are included in the cheating policy and any appearance of a cellular phone (or other communication devise) during a test will be considered an attempt to cheat by the student.

                Likewise electronic devises such as cellular phones etc. will not be allowed in lecture unless prior approval is given by the instructor.


Students with disabilities:  It is the policy of the University of Arkansas at Monticello to accommodate individuals with disabilities pursuant to federal law and the University’s commitment to equal educational opportunities. It is the responsibility of the student to inform the instructor of any necessary accommodations at the beginning of the course.  Any student requiring accommodations should contact the Office of Special Student Services located in Harris Hall Room 120; phone 870 460-1026; TDD 870 460-1626; Fax 870 460-1926.

Statement on disruptive behavior: The following action is prohibited under the Student Conduct Code: Disorderly Conduct: Any behavior which disrupts the regular or normal functions of the University community, including behavior which breaches the peace or violates the rights of others.


Lecture Schedule:

Chapter #:




Note that the lab schedule is subject to change!!!!!!!

An Evolutionary Approach to Animal Behavior


Statistical analysis

Proximate and Ultimate Causes of Behavior: How and Why Birds Sing


Paper discussion

The Development of Behavior: A Focus on Heredity


Taxis in mealworms

The Development of Behavior: A Focus on the Environment


Paper discussion

The Control of Behavior: Neural Mechanisms


Duckling Imprinting

The Organization of Behavior: Neurons and Hormones


Paper discussion

Adaptation and Anti-Predator Behavior


Predator Avoidance

The Evolution of Feeding Behavior



Choosing Where To Live



The Evolution of Communication


Paper discussion

The Evolution of Reproductive Behavior


Paper discussion

The Evolution of Mating Systems


Sexual Selection

The Evolution of Parental Care


Paper discussion

The Evolution of Social Behavior


Social Dominance

The Evolution of Human Behavior


Paper discussion