How do animal behaviors help teach physics and biology?

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McLinn says, “We can perceive some behaviors and sounds, but there are things we can’t experience, or experience differently, because of how animals are adapted to their environments. For example, we don’t see UV coloration like birds do, hear infrasound like elephants, communicate through scent to the extent that moths do, or use vibratory communication the way some arachnids do.”

“Animal behavior shows how physics limits and shapes biology. For example, small animals tend to make high-pitched sounds and large ones tend to make low-pitched sounds because it’s hard for an animal to make a loud sound with a wavelength much larger than its body size. And biology lets us see physics in action—how animals have adapted to take advantage of physics principles. For example, some frogs use tree cavities to amplify sounds, and birds shift to higher minimum song frequencies to make themselves heard in noisy urban environments.”

Elk and Blackbird
"Many students tend to be interested in animal behavior because it’s familiar to them. We behave, we have pets that behave, and we see nature specials or even common animals in our own backyards that are doing interesting things or making loud sounds. This can be a hook into inquiring deeper: what behaviors are you seeing, and why do the animals do them?"
Courtesy of Macaulay Library