By Konrad Lorenz
This booklet is a contribution to the historical past of ethology-not a definitive historical past, however the own view of a tremendous determine in that tale. it's all the extra welcome simply because the sort of grand topic as ethology demands a number of views. One cause is the overarching scope of the topic. nice questions on lifestyles that represent a lot of biology are "How does it paintings (structure and function)?" and "How did it get that approach (evolu tion and ontogeny)?" Ethology addresses the antecedent of "it. " Of what are we attempting to clarify the mechanism and improvement? definitely behav ior, in all its wealth of element, edition, causation, and regulate, is the most fulfillment of animal evolution, the fundamental outcome of animal constitution and serve as, the raison d' etre of all of the relaxation. Ethology therefore spans among and overlaps with the ever-widening circles of ecol ogy over the eons and the ever-narrowing concentration of body structure of the neurons. one more reason why the historical past of ethology wishes views is the recency of its reputation. For such an evidently significant point of animal biology, it really is curious how brief a time-less than 3 decades-has visible the thrill of an lively box and a considerable fraternity of labor ers, the addition of professors and classes to departments and curricula in biology (still faraway from universal}, and the traditional supplement of spe cial journals, symposia, and classes at congresses.
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Additional info for The Foundations of Ethology
23 That the two tasks can also be undertaken separately for the examination of a living system is confirmed by the fact that analysis of living systems as they are at the moment was considerably far advanced before questions concerned with how they had gotten that way were ever asked. Harvey had clearly comprehended the function of the circulatory system and had consequentially postulated the existence of capillaries, which one could not even see at the time. An entire series of discoveries, made independently of any historical consideration of organic genesis, is a part of the past of the science of medicine.
Hartmann's conceptualization of the processes underlying goal-directed action. : Teleologisches Denken. " Since Hartmann wrote this statement, research into the biochemistry of morphogenesis and also into that of appetitive behavior in animals (Two/l/10) has revealed processes in which the three acts required by Hartmann are performed in distinct interaction and yet in sequences that are certainly not dependent on or associated with consciousness. If the preexistent "blueprint" in the genome anticipates the construction of a new organism as a goal, and if, subsequently, this goal is attained through a quite variable and adaptive choice of those means proffered by the milieu and within a strictly causal sequence of developmental steps, this then conforms to the combined functions of the three acts postulated by Hartmann.
In principle, this is the same as the designing of a so-called flowchart that, with its so-called "black boxes," anticipates functions of a mechanism which remain, for the time being, unexplained. The provisional sketching of the entire system is indispensable because the learner-listener, exactly as the researcher, can understand the single part, the "subsystem," only when he has also understood all the other parts. From what source, for example, the piston gets the energy that enables it to develop a capacity for suction can first be comprehended by the learner after he has understood the functions of all the other parts which provide the flywheel with kinetic energy; he must know why and to what end the camshaft runs half so fast as the crankshaft and how it opens the intake valve on the intake stroke and holds the exhaust valve shut, how it closes both valves on the compression and explosion strokes and opens only the exhaust valve on the exhaust stroke; he must understand how it is that the mixture is ignited at the right moment of the compression stroke, and so forth and so on.