Oskar Heinroth

Oskar Heinroth (* 1. March 1871 in Mainz Kastel31. May 1945 in Berlin) was more than 30 years long directors/conductors citizens of Berlin of the aquarium; he attained international scientific meaning however as Ornithologe. Heinroth introduced also the term Ethologie to its today usual meaning into modern behavior biology .

scientific achievements

as an assistant it already drew 1898 and 1913 up nearly all European kinds of duck with the hand between. It recognized 1906 with crossing attempts by ducks that certain behavior patterns, as for example the head in water dipping during the Balz, are leavable and therefore innately. Heinroth compared also the calls and the movement ways of various swan and kinds of goose with the Balz and with the raising of its Küken. By these analyses it put the foundation-stone for a comparative behavior research, which behavior characteristics in similar way for masterhistorical relationship and as this with physical characteristics for a long time before the case was examined on thing in common.

Oskar Heinroth fell among other things the strange behavior of Küken up, which had come isolated in an incubator expenditure-bred and briefly to slipping with humans into contact. If this Küken was brought after to a parents animal, this treated the Küken like the own new generation; the Küken however fled always loud cheeping before its “foster parents” and looked for protection with each humans in the proximity. Heinroth could successfully supply the Küken however then to adult kind comrade as “foster children”, if he put her immediately after slipping into a bag and prevented so each contact to humans. Furthermore it called this form of learning coinage and developed biological terms such as agitation, Imponiergehabe and Triumpfgeschrei.

Later Konrad Lorenz took over this terminology, popularized it and saw themselves time life than pupils of Oskar Heinroth. 1931 he explained to him in a letter that he in his instructor see the founder of a new science, “ the animal psychology as a branch of biology ". The today common name for this Forschungsgebiet is Ethologie or comparative behavior research.

Hardly it admits is today that already Douglas Alexander Spalding in the second half 19. Century the phenomenon of the coinage in scientific openings described.


  • Heinroth, Oskar: Contributions for biology, in particular Ethologie and psychology of the Anatiden. in: Reports V. Int. Ornithologen of congress Berlin 1910, S. 559 FF.

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