Evolution, Function, Development and Causation
Tinbergen's Four Questions and Contemporary Animal Biology

In the year 2003 it was 40 years ago that Niko Tinbergen published his famous paper on the 4 questions in behavioural biology. Given the enormous importance of this paper, the Royal Dutch Zoological Society together with the Dutch Society for Behavioural Biology and a number of different Behavioural Biology groups in The Netherlands organized a symposium entitled 'Evolution, Function, Development and Causation. Tinbergen's Four Questions and Contemporary Animal Biology', at the Institute of Biology, Leiden University on 5 September, 2003.

The aim of the symposium was to invite some leading behavioural biologists to give us their views on the state of the art with regard to the four questions. The speakers were also asked to each write an article, based on their presentation, for a special issue of the Society's journal Animal Biology published in 2005.

The symposium was held in Leiden, in the department where Tinbergen started his career.

The programme is indicated below and the poster can be downloaded as a PDF (413 Kb).

Special issue of Tinbergen symposium (Animal Biology vol. 55 nr. 4)

You can also download the article published in De Volkskrant, in Dutch (PDF, 118 Kb).
Also read the article published in Bionieuws, in Dutch (PDF, 86 Kb).

The photos that were taken by Johan van Leeuwen during the symposium are available online.

Venue: Institute of Biology, Leiden University, Kaiserstraat 63, Leiden, The Netherlands

Date: 5 September, 2003


09.45-10.15 Coffee

10.15-10.20 Welcome by the Dean of the Faculty, Professor F. Saris

10.20-10.30 Introduction: Tinbergen's four questions, four decades on

by Johan Bolhuis, president of the Royal Dutch Zoological Society

Chair: Johan Bolhuis

10.30-11.15 Causation: the study of mechanisms

Jerry Hogan (Toronto, Canada)

11.15-12.00 Development

David Crews (Austin, Texas)

12.00-13.00 Lunch

Chair: Carel ten Cate

13.00-13.45 The study of function in behavioural ecology

Innes Cuthill (Bristol, UK)

13.45-14.30 Evolution of behaviour

Michael Ryan (Austin, Texas)

14.30-15.00 Tea

15.00-15.45 Synthesis of function and mechanism

David Sherry (London, Ont., Canada)

15.45-16.30 Function and mechanism: looking for clues

Johan Bolhuis (Utrecht, The Netherlands)

16.30-17.00 General Discussion

17.00-18.00 Drinks

Sponsored by the Royal Dutch Zoological Society, the Dutch Society for Behavioural Biology, The Dutch Foundation for Scientific Research, Leiden University, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Utrecht University, Leiden University, Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Heteren and University of Groningen.