Pioneers of applied ethology

RC Newberry*, V Sandilands

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter examines the environment in which the field of applied ethology emerged. Through brief vignettes about the lives and contributions of prominent scientists and other influential figures, we provide a historical context for today's celebration of the 50th anniversary of the International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE, founded in Edinburgh in 1966 as the Society for Veterinary Ethology). From seeds sown by Darwin, Whitman and Heinroth in the 1800s, who set the stage for the emergence of ethology, we outline the Nobel Prize winning contributions of von Frisch, Lorenz and Tinbergen, who defined ethology as a respected discipline. We trace the separate trajectory of psychological research on learned behaviour through the works of Pavlov, Watson, Thorndike and Skinner, and observe the blending of ethology and psychology in studies by Bowlby, Ainsworth, Griffin and Panksepp. From this foundation, we then focus on pioneering research in applied ethology, as exemplified by the careers of David Wood-Gush, Donald Broom, Marian Dawkins and Temple Grandin. We briefly highlight the contributions of a selection of other prominent applied ethologists active in the early years of the Society, noting applications of their research to animal husbandry, veterinary medicine and, increasingly, animal welfare. We also discuss the roles played by non-ethologists such as Astrid Lindgren, Ruth Harrison, Peter Singer and Russell and Burch, whose works contributed to the broader cultural milieu within which pioneering applied ethology research was undertaken. We end with a summary of contributions by Hediger, J.P. Scott, the Brelands, E.O. Wilson, Goodall, and P. Bateson who, although not directly associated with the ISAE, have served as sources of inspiration for applied ethologists. As we look forward to many exciting new developments in our discipline, this chapter serves as a reminder of some of the pioneers who have paved our way.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnimals and Us: 50 Years and More of Applied Ethology
EditorsJennifer Brown, Yolande Seddon, Michael Appleby
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9789086868285
ISBN (Print)9789086862825
Publication statusPrint publication - 2016

Bibliographical note

© Wageningen Academic Publishers 2016


  • Animal behaviour
  • Animal welfare
  • Biography
  • History of science


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