Behavioral Biology

Behavioural biology examines the behaviour of humans and animals and investigates which behaviour is innate and which skills are learned in the course of life. An overview of our research.

Females remain unmated when competition for preferred mates is too big - but then often smuggle their eggs into other nests more

African grey parrots may have better self-control than macaws more

Learned odors influence the moths' preferences for certain flowers and host plants more

Migrating birds choose routes with the best wind and uplift conditions, helping them to fly nonstop for hundreds of kilometers over the sea more

Geckos' crash landing abilities may inspire new techniques for robot mobility more

Fish are his passion. Alex Jordan wants to know why they do what they do. An interview with the behavioural biologist more

In a first for wild primates, scientists use ‘Fitbit’ technology on a troop of baboons to reveal the price of sticking together more

World-first research proves ‘cockies’ learn unique bin-opening behavior by copying others more

Research team now examines impact of food competition and climate change more

Study warns that changing climate in the Congo Basin is impacting assessment of the endangered apes more

African grey parrots may have better self-control than macaws more

Migrating birds choose routes with the best wind and uplift conditions, helping them to fly nonstop for hundreds of kilometers over the sea more

Geckos' crash landing abilities may inspire new techniques for robot mobility more

In a first for wild primates, scientists use ‘Fitbit’ technology on a troop of baboons to reveal the price of sticking together more

World-first research proves ‘cockies’ learn unique bin-opening behavior by copying others more

Research team now examines impact of food competition and climate change more

Study warns that changing climate in the Congo Basin is impacting assessment of the endangered apes more

Smell leads storks to freshly mown meadows more

The chest beats given by adult male gorillas reliably indicate their body size more

Immigration helps populations shift to more efficient behaviors more

Fish are his passion. Alex Jordan wants to know why they do what they do. An interview with the behavioural biologist more

The primatologist Roman Wittig explains in this interview, why he prefers to speak in terms of "spatial” rather than “social” distancing, and how virtual (online) meetings can replace real meetings to a certain extent. more

Even chimpanzees and six-year-old infants want to punish antisocial behaviour more

Blackbirds that spend the winter in the south are more likely to survive the cold season than their conspecifics in central Europe more

Researchers show that vocalizing in chimpanzees is influenced by social cognitive processes more

Bystanders monitor and intervene into grooming interactions of their group members if these threaten their own status or social relationships more

When female flies smell their favorite food, they become more receptive to courting males more

The tiny mammals reduce the size of their organs in the winter and can even decrease and rebuild bones more

The Icarus on-board computer, the first component of the global animal observatory system, has gone into space more

For the common noctule, wind speed, wind direction and air pressure trigger its set off for its summer territories more

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology based at the research station outpost for parrot comparative cognition in the Loro Parque in Tenerife, Spain, have shown that parrots exhibit a high level of social intelligence and cooperativeness. They readily help others, even when there is no immediate opportunity for reciprocation. Moreover, they reciprocate received favours and do not appear jealous, if conspecifics obtain a better reward than themselves. more
Dogs and humans have been living together for 15,000 years – a long time to get used to each other.  Behavioural biologists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig are investigating how well the animals have adapted to humans. They discovered that dogs are frequently better at understanding human gestures than other animal species. For example, dogs understand referential gestures, such as pointing, and realise they can get away with doing something forbidden when their owners just happen to be looking elsewhere. more
Bonobos - chimpanzees' gentle cousins more
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