Neuroethology: What Does It Mean for General Neurobiology?

  • Theodore Holmes Bullock


Neuroethology is a relatively new name for the overlap between neuroscience and ethology; it embraces the whole gamut of approaches applied to questions that might illumine the neural basis of species-characteristic behavior. It overlaps with physiological psychology, psychobiology and cognitive science as well as comparative and evolutionary biology. The purpose of this chapter, after a minimal exposition of the boundaries and definition of neuroethology, is to defend the claim that it is more than isolated bits of amazing natural history but deals with basic issues of several kinds. A number of examples are presented, most of them share the feature that they are unfinished stories and await new work. Especially needed are the relatively neglected approaches of system organization and evolution among higher taxa. Most of the illustrative cases are grouped under three Rs to underline the diversity of their contributions to general neurobiology. “Roots” refers to the goal of discerning phylogenetic history, what is old and what is new. “Rules” stands for the search for operating principles and favorable species for reductionist analysis of the substrates of behavior. “Relevance” emphasizes the significance of neuroethological findings for other fields of science and problems of the human condition.


Zebra Finch Electric Organ Discharge Dorsal Cochlear Nucleus Corollary Discharge Lower Taxon 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theodore Holmes Bullock
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurosciences 0201University of California, San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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