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Abstract

Despite the major advances that have occurred in the study of animal behaviour in the 50 years since the publication of Tinbergen's (ZeitschriftfürTierpsychologie, 20, 1963, 410) ‘Aims and Methods’ paper, the framework he outlined still remains the best way we have of guiding and organizing behavioural research. His distinction between four different types of question – adaptation, phylogeny, immediate causal mechanism and development – and his insistence on being clear on what would count as answers to each of them are still as good an introduction to the subject today as they ever were.