1). An hypothesis. 2). A paragraph explanation as to why you have created this hypothesis. Provide a

1). An hypothesis.
2). A paragraph explanation as to why you have created this hypothesis. Provide a
brief background statement and develop it with a few explanatory statements.
3). List of behaviors (minimally 10) that relate to the hypothesis.
4). List of operational definitions for each behavior, with citations of references where
5). Design for sampling observations (see Martin & Bateson and also the lecture on
observational research).
6). Excel spreadsheet or table format with checksheet ethogram of time and behaviors.
7). List of the references used (in APA format).
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Steps to create a Hypothesis, develop the Operational Definitions and an Ethogram of at
least 10 behaviors:

1.   Find and read at least
peer-reviewed journal articles relevant to your
species. Review articles are not acceptable.
2.   Develop a hypothesis based on your readings about your species. State the
hypothesis in your Introduction or Methods section.
3.   Martin & Bateson,
Measuring Behaviour
, is your “bible” for observational
research. Make sure to read before beginning your zoo observations, and include
it in your references.
4.   Create an ethogram with which to collect data, making sure to select behaviors
relevant to your hypothesis. Operationally define each of these behaviors, citing
appropriate references.
5.   A minimum of
behavioral categories should be included in your ethogram.
You may need more behavioral categories; use as many as needed (10+) to
addresses your hypothesis.
6.   Choose your sampling methods (e.g., focal, dyad, group) and method of data
collection (e.g., 1-0 time sampling on a 2 minute interval). This is your research
What is an hypothesis? How to develop one for your zoo observation project and
Step 1: An hypothesis is a concrete statement or question that can be supported or
answered with either a yes or no answer or with a trend in the data.
For example:
“Do captive adult male chimpanzees exhibit greater levels of aggression than

“Male captive adult chimpanzees exhibit greater levels of aggression than females.”
“Infant with
their mothers than do their juvenile siblings.”
“Do captive female polar bears exhibit fewer stereotypies than the males in the same
“What percentage of time per day do captive King Penguins spend engaged in social
interactions, swimming and feeding compared to the Macaroni Penguins in the same
Step 2: Develop a testable hypothesis for an observational project. It should include
comparisons of categories of behavior
. For example, within a behavioral category
(e.g., social interactions), you can compare males and females within a species, or
infants to juveniles, or infants and juveniles to adults, etc. Or you could compare
behaviors exhibited with high numbers of zoo visitors present to when there are few
zoo visitors present. Be creative with your ideas.



Wild Chimpanzees exhibit different behaviors as dictated by a range of factors that include biology, ecology and social transmission.

While some of the behaviors exhibited by wild chimpanzees are transferred from their mothers through biology, others become integrated in the culture of a group and define the way of doing things. On the other hand, the environment/ecology dictates they type of behaviors that chimpanzees exhibit.  For example, Nishida, Mitani and Watts (2004) investigated social scratching behaviors in two different game reserves (Muhale and Ngongo) he found that while chimpanzees in Ngongo used fingers to poke their counterparts, those in Muhale used Flexed fingers to stroke others.


Operational Definitions:

Sampling method: focal sampling

Data collection method: 2.5 minute intervals; 1-0 time sampling


  behaviors Abbreviations Definitions 1.      Social scratching SC [1 or 2] One chimpanzee scratching the body of another.

1= use of fingers to poke the back of another chimpanzee

2= use of flexed fingers to stroke the bodies of other chimpanzees (Nishida, Mitani, & Watts, 2004)


2.      Sounds Uttered during grooming GC [ LS or Tc) Sound associated with the inspection of the skin of another chimpanzee.

LS= Lip smacking sounds

TC= Teeth clacking sounds


3.      Nut cracking behaviors NC (1 or 2) Calls made when cracking nuts that are mostly influenced by the vocal culture

1= short, high pitched pants (Vaidyanathan, 2011)

2= long hoots

4.      Termite fishing behaviors TF (1 or2) Invasion of a termite mould with a tool made from vegetation for the purpose of extracting termites

1= repeated brush straightening to prepare the end for insertion

2= no repeated brush straightening (Sanz& Morgan, 2011)

5.      Mating behavior MB (`1 0r 2) The use of gestures to initiate mating

1= use of auditory gestures

2= use of tactile gestures (Roberts & Roberts, 2015)

6.      Feeding behavior FB [1 or 2] The manner in which chimpanzees prioritize feeding habitats

1= prioritize mating instead offeedinf

2= occupy high quality feeding habitats

7.      Social play SP [1 or 2] The use of playful gestures

1= individual chimpanzee participate in playful activities such as swinging in trees

2= two or more chimpanzee engage in playful activities such as chasing one another

8.      Male conflict behavior MC [1 or 2] During the mating activity, males are either aggressive or submissive depending on their dominance.

1; moderate aggression that includes physical contact, attacks and chasing another chimpanzee

2= no aggression where the chimpanzee is submissive(Surbeck et. Al, 2017).


9.      Communication behaviors CB [1 or 2] Refers to the socialization behaviors

1 barking and screaming

2= pants and hoots


10.  Parental care PC [1 or 2] Refers to the chimpanzee caring behaviors for adolescents and infants

1=Male exhibit more caring behavior

2=Females exhibit more responsible  and caring behaviors






START TIME: 2:00 P.M.         

  Time Behavior SC [1 or 2] Behavior [LS or Tc] Behavior

[NC 1 or 2]


[TF 1 or 2]


[MB 1 or 2]


FB [1 or 2]

Behavior [SP 1, or 2 ] Behavior [MC 1 or 2] Behavior [CB 1 or 2] Behavior [PC 1 or 2] 2.5




                    7.5min                     10min                     12.5 min                     15 min                     17.5 min                     20 min                     22.5min                     25 min                     27.5 min                     30 min                     32.5 min                     35min                     37.5 min                     40 min                     42.5 min                     45min                     47.5 min                     50 min                     52.5 min                     55 min                     57.5 min                     60 min                     62.5min                     65 min                     67.5 min                     70 min                     72.5 min                     75 min                     77.5 min                     80 min                     82.5 min                     85min                     87.5 min                     90 min                     92.5 min                     95min                     97.5min                     100 min                     102.5 min                     105 min                     107.5 min                     110 min                     112.5 min                     115min                     117.5 min                     120 min                     122.5min                     125 min                     127.5  min                     130 min                     132.5 min                     135 min                     137.5 min                     140 min                     142.5 min                     145min                     147.5 min                     150 min                    









Nishida, T., Mitani, J. C., & Watts, D. (2004). Variable Grooming Behaviours in Wild Chimpanzees. Folia Primatologica, 75(1), 31-36. doi:10.1159/000073429

Roberts, A. I., & Roberts, S. G. (2015). Gestural Communication and Mating Tactics in Wild Chimpanzees. Plos One, 10(11). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0139683

Sanz, C. M., & Morgan, D. B. (2011). Elemental variation in the termite fishing of wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Biology Letters, 7(4), 634-637. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2011.0088

Surbeck, M., Boesch, C., Girard-Buttoz, C., Crockford, C., Hohmann, G., & Wittig, R. M. (2017). Comparison of male conflict behavior in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and bonobos (Pan paniscus), with specific regard to coalition and post-conflict behavior. American Journal of Primatology, 79(6). doi:10.1002/ajp.22641

Vaidyanathan, G. (2011). Apes in Africa: The cultured chimpanzees. Nature, 476(7360), 266-269. doi:10.1038/476266a