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Cornell University    
  Feb 18, 2018
Courses of Study 2017-2018
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ENTOM 3755 - Social Animal Behavior: Arthropods to Apes

Spring. 3 credits. Letter grades only.

Prerequisites: 1 year of college biology or permission of instructor.

L. Rayor.

Why do some animals live in social groups while others live solitarily? Throughout Animalia are examples of closely related taxa in which the majority of species live essentially solitary lives while a few species have evolved to live in cooperative social groups. What factors make cooperation beneficial while closely related species succeed without those benefits? We will compare the ecological and evolutionary factors influencing sociality in animals from social amoeba, eusocial insects, social invertebrates, cooperative birds, ground squirrels, carnivores, elephants, and primates with the goal of developing a comparative social synthesis. Social theory, and patterns of foraging, reproduction, parental care, group defense will be compared. Social animals are the most compelling, and the most informative to the human condition of all animals.

Outcome 1: Interpret diverse behaviors which requires an integration of social theory, evolutionary history and ecological pressures that influence different organisms.

Outcome 2: Develop a synthetic knowledge of the diversity of social behavior in different taxa.

Outcome 3: Critically evaluate the quality and conclusions of scientific primary literature.

Outcome 4: Apply theory and practical examples from across Animalia, but also look at systems with a broader perspective.

Outcome 5: Incorporate behavioral components into future research projects.

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