Konrad Lorenz And Animal Behavior Patterns

Scientist Konrad Zacharias Lorenz was an Austrian zoologist. His exceptional work in animal behavior earned him the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1973.
Konrad Lorenz and Animal Behavior Patterns

Konrad Lorenz, an Austrian zoologist, is considered the founder of modern ethology. This scientist pioneered the study of animal behavior using comparative zoological methods.

Their ideas helped to understand how behavioral patterns can be traced back to an evolutionary past. In addition, he was known for his work on the roots of aggression in humans.

Konrad Lorenz shared the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with animal behavior experts Karl von Frisch and Nikolaas Tinbergen.

family environment and education

Konrad Zacharias Lorenz was born on November 7, 1903.  He was raised in Vienna and also on the family’s summer estate in Altenberg, a village on the Danube River in Austria.

He was the youngest son of Adolf Lorenz, a successful orthopedic surgeon, and Emma Lecher Lorenz, a physician. From an early age, Konrad enjoyed owning and watching animals.

Lorenz completed his studies at one of the best secondary schools in Vienna. Her childhood friend Margaret Gebhardt was also interested in animals. Then, in 1939, they got married and had two daughters and a son.

Young Lorenz graduated from the University of Vienna as a Doctor of Medicine in 1928 and was appointed assistant professor at the Institute of Anatomy until 1935. He also began to study zoology, an area in which he obtained a doctorate in 1933, at the same university.

career and achievements

From his observations made between 1935 and 1938, Lorenz established the concept of imprintingThe imprinting is the process by which a baby – in his first moments of life – following an object, usually his biological mother.

He arrived at this concept by watching birds (geese and jays). In the process, he found that, shortly after hatching, puppies are genetically inclined to identify the sound and appearance of their mother and thus form a permanent bond with her.

In 1940, he was appointed professor of psychology at the University of Königsberg. However, World War II (1939-1945) soon interrupted his academic career.

career and achievements

Konrad Lorenz’s War Experiences

During the war, Konrad Lorenz served as a doctor in the German army. He was captured in 1942 and was held as a prisoner of war by the Soviet Union for six years.

He returned to Austria in 1948 and headed the Institute of Comparative Ethology in Altenberg from 1949 to 1951. In 1950, he established a department of comparative ethology at the Max Planck Institute in Buldern, Westphalia, and became co-director of the Institute in 1954.

From 1961 to 1973, he served as director of the Max Planck Institute for Behavioral Physiology in Seewiesen. In 1973, the year of his Nobel Prize, Lorenz became head of the animal sociology department at the Institute of Comparative Ethology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Altenberg.

Konrad Lorenz’s Ideas on Human Aggression

Konrad Lorenz's Ideas on Human Aggression

In the last part of his career, Lorenz applied his ideas to the behavior of human beings as members of a social species. The scientist’s ideas constituted a hypothesis with highly controversial philosophical and sociological implications.

Generating much controversy, Lorenz went so far as to argue that humankind’s warlike and warlike behaviors have an innate basis. Lorenz explained that this behavior can be modified environmentally by several factors.

In summary,  Lorenz’s concepts paved the way for modern scientific understanding of how behavioral patterns evolve in a species. Especially in relation to the role of ecological factors and the adaptive value of behavior for species survival.

His work pioneered the idea that animal species organize genetically to learn specific types of information that are important for their survival.

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