The Roundup: Animal behavior

Students in Dr. Susan Alberts’ Evolution of Animal Behavior course at Duke University are learning about how animals solve problems. They’ve also been creating and expanding Wikipedia articles based on what they learn. These students are increasing the variety and quality of content related to animal behavior on Wikipedia.

Here are just a few examples of their work:

  • Students delved into the evolutionary reasons behind a phenomenon known as distraction display, in which a bird feigns a broken wing to draw a predator away. Students expanded the article from 362 to 1,339 words, and from 10 to 25 references.
  • Students expanded the article on communal roosting, a behavior commonly seen in bats. They turned a 50-word article without references into one with more than 2,200 words, and 21 references.
  • Outlining some of the evolutionary origins of predators, students created a new article, pursuit predation, consisting of 1,366 words and 17 references. We hope their predatory instincts kick in and they “pursue” this topic further.
  • Students expanded the article on Osteophagy, a condition in which herbivores with calcium and phosphate deficiencies eat bones. The student’s work, however, wasn’t deficient at all! They “boned up” the article from 38 words and 1 reference to 862 words and 12 references.

Thanks to these student editors for their great contributions to Wikipedia!

Photo:Pronghorn run – Flickr – USDAgov” by Mark Gocke/USDA. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.


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