Of affluent rats and man

Alfred E. Baldacchino's Blog


Monday, 25th May, 2015

Of affluent rats and man

Alfred E. Baldacchino

I was still in my early teens. Television was still black and white. But I still clearly remember a documentary based on Konrad Lorenz’s studies on animal behaviour.

konrad-lorenz-1Konrad Lorenz

Konrad Lorenz (7 November 1903 – 27 February 1989) hailed from Austria.  Besides being a zoologist and ornithologist he was also an ethologist. He is best known as one of the founders of modern ethology – the study of animal behaviour.  In 1973 he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Nikolaas Tinbergen and Karl von Frisch.

The documentary was based on the behaviour of a number of rats confined in a large circular cage built with interconnecting radial divisions. It housed a rat society living under affluent conditions, but in a limited space.

rat-overpopulation-1An over populated rat society

The availability of food contributed to an…

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