This unit investigates the nervous system, looking at how it evolved and the role it plays in determining animal behaviour. It moves on to look at the sensory system that is responsible for enabling vision.
a) The evolution of the nervous system and the role it plays in determining animal behaviour.
b) Taking a look at the basic building blocks of the generalised vertebrate nervous system and how it applies to animal behaviour.
c) The sensory system that is responsible for enabling vision and how it evolved. Looking at the function of the compound eye and the vertebrate eye and the concept of visual processing.
This unit covers an overview of brain structure and then looks in more detail at the concepts of natural selection and sexual selection.
a) A basic overview of brain structure and function, taking into account the purpose of the brain and its evolution.
b) Natural Selection and the theories of the Selfish Gene verses Altruism, taking into account behaviour towards kin and non kin.
c) Sexual Selection, incorporating concepts of Intrasexual & Intersexual Selection using different animal species as examples.
This unit analyses animal behaviour by looking at breeding strategies, Optimality Theory and Ethology in practise.
a) The evolved arrangements of breeding strategies and the influencing factors affecting these strategies. Looking in more detail at Monogamy, Polygyny and Polyandry.
b) The ways in which Optimality Theory is used to analyse animal behaviour.
c) Ethology in practice (the practical study of animal behaviour) and the different ways in which behaviour can be recorded, and how each method of measurement takes in different aspects of the behaviour.
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