Nikolaas Tinbergen

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Tinbergen, Nikolaas,

1907–88, Anglo-Dutch zoologist, b. Netherlands. He received his Ph.D. in 1932 from the Univ. of Leiden, where he became professor of zoology in 1947. In 1949 he joined the faculty of Oxford. For his work in reviving and developing the biological science of animal behavior, Tinbergen was awarded the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. His first independent work concerned the landmark orientation of homing wasps. After collaborating with the Austrian ethologist Konrad LorenzLorenz, Konrad
, 1903–89, Austrian zoologist and ethologist. He received medical training at the Univ. of Vienna and spent two years at the medical school of Columbia Univ. He received a Ph.D. (1936) in zoology from the Univ.
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, he was invited to found a school of animal behavior at the Univ. of Leiden. Studies of the display behavior of certain species revealed that such displays result from a state of conflict between opposite motivations ("fight or flee"). Further work clarified the evolutionary origins of many social signals and their subsequent ritualization. Tinbergen emphasized the mutual interaction between predator and prey and, as scientific adviser to the Serengeti Research Institute in Tanzania, applied this approach to African plains game. His best-known books are The Study of Instinct (1951); The Herring Gull's World (1953, rev. ed. 1961). He was named a fellow of the Royal Society in 1962 and a foreign fellow of the Netherlands Academy of Sciences in 1964.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tinbergen, Nikolaas


Born Apr. 15, 1907, in The Hague. Dutch zoologist and ethologist.

Together with K. Lorenz, Tinbergen formulated the theory of instinctive behavior and its development in ontogeny and phytogeny. He began working at Oxford University in 1949, and became a professor there in 1966. Tinbergen, a Nobel Prize winner (1973), authored the first textbook on ethology.


The Study of Instinct, 2nd ed. Oxford, 1958.
Functional Ethology and the Human Sciences. London, 1973.
In Russian translation:
Povedenie zhivotnykh. Moscow, 1960.
Osy, ptitsy, liudi. Moscow, 1970.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.