On the Utility of the Proximate-Ultimate Distinction in the Study of Animal Behavior

Authors

  • Donald A. Dewsbury

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    1. Department of Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville
      Department of Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611–2065, USA.
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      Dewsbury, D. A. 1994: On the utility of the proximate-ultimate distinction in the study of animal behavior. Ethology 96, 63–68.


Department of Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611–2065, USA.

Abstract

The importance of Tinbergen's “four problems” approach lies in assuring that the answers provided are truly appropriate to the questions that are asked. No problem is any more important than any other. I suggest that the spirit of this formulation can be best realized if we revise the ways in which recent authors have grouped the various problems in the study of behavior. One consequence of this regrouping is an elimination of the proximate-ultimate dichotomy.

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