The Ultimate Benefits of Learning

Kathy Rose Baker, Vicky Melfi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


One of the first theories or concepts university undergraduates studying an animal behaviour degree come across in their academic careers is likely to be Tinbergen's four ‘questions’ relating to animal behaviour. The four questions can be broadly split into two categories; proximate and ultimate explanations for behaviour. This chapter focuses on the ultimate explanations for learning; how learning can effect survival of an individual and evolution of a species. It discusses the main factors, along with a case study, to better understand how learning within zoos is essential for the long term survival of animals if reintroduced; and results in animals which are better representatives of their wild counterparts in zoo education. ‘Indirect benefits’ of learning maybe conferred through changed physiological or psychological parameters, for example positive feedback loops that affect the animal's emotional state; sometimes referred to as secondary benefits.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationZoo Animal Learning and Training
EditorsVicky Melfi, Nicole Dorey, Samantha Ward
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9781118968536
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2020


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