Ethology (from Greek: ἦθος, ethos, "character"; and -λογία, -logia, "the study of") is the scientific study of animal behavior, and a sub-topic of zoology.
Although many naturalists have studied aspects of animal behavior throughout history, the modern discipline of ethology is generally considered to have begun during the 1930s with the work of Dutch biologist Nikolaas Tinbergen and Austrian biologists Konrad Lorenz and Karl von Frisch, joint winners of the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Ethology is a combination of laboratory and field science, with a strong relation to certain other disciplines such as neuroanatomy, ecology, and evolution. Ethologists are typically interested in a behavioral process rather than in a particular animal group, and often study one type of behavior (e.g. aggression) in a number of unrelated animals.
The desire to understand animals has made ethology a rapidly growing field. Since the turn of the 21st century, many aspects of animal communication, personal symbolic name use, animal emotions, animal culture, learning, and even sexual conduct that experts long thought they understood, have been reexamined, and new conclusions reached. New fields have developed, such as neuroethology.