Konrad Lorenz

Submitted by on Oct 16, 2015

Konrad Lorenz

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Born: November 7, 1903 Vienna

Died: 27 g of February 1989.

The Austrian ethologist Konrad zoologist and Zacharias Lorenz was born on November 7, 1903 in Vienna, he was the youngest of the two sons of Emma (Lecher) and Adolf Lorenz Lorenz. Santa was the Lorentz maker of harness, and his father, remembered hungry childhood, became a successful orthopedic surgeon, who built in Altenberg near Vienna’s elegant, if somewhat lurid mansion, decorated with enormous canvases and Roman statues. Wandering through the fields and marshes around the hall Lorenz Lorenz has caught what would later call “excessive love of animals».

Growing domestic ducks, young Lorenz first discovered imprinting, a specific form of training, observed in the early stages of life, through which the animals establish social ties and recognize each other. “The neighbor – later recalled Lorenz – I took a day and a duck, to the great delight, discovered that he had developed a reaction to follow throughout my person. At the same time I woke up in the indestructible interest in waterfowl, and I have become an expert on child behavior of its various representatives ».

Soon, the boy gathered a remarkable collection of animals, not only domestic, but also wild, who lived in the house and in the vast area around it, as in the present private zoo. This allowed Lorenz acquainted with different types of animals, and now he was not inclined to see them as simply living arrangements. As a researcher, standing on the position of objectivity in science, he was far from thinking to interpret animal behavior in the image of human thoughts and feelings. Its more interested in the problems of instinct: how and why the behavior of animals, non-human reason, is characterized by complex circumstances and adequate models?

After receiving primary education at a private school, which was led by his aunt, Lorenz entered the “Shottengimnazium”- a school with a very high level of teaching. There Lorentz habits of observation were reinforced zoological training methods and principles of evolution.”At the end of high school – later he wrote Lorenz – I was still fascinated by the evolution and wanted to study zoology and paleontology. However, I obeyed his father, who insisted on my studies in medicine ».

In 1922, Lorenz was enrolled in Columbia University in New York, but after six months he returned to Austria and entered the Medical Faculty of the University of Vienna. Although he had little desire to become a doctor, he decided that medical education will not hurt his beloved vocation – ethology, the science of animal behavior in the wild. L. remembered university professors of anatomy Hohshtettere Ferdinand, who gave “excellent preparation for methodological issues, learn to distinguish similarities, caused by a common origin, from those due to parallel adaptation.”L.”quickly realized … that the comparative method should be applicable to the same patterns of behavior, as well as to the anatomical structures».

While working on his thesis for a medical degree, L. began to systematically compare the features of the instinctive behavior of animals. At the same time he served as a laboratory assistant at the Department of Anatomy, University of Vienna. After receiving in 1928 a medical degree L. moved to the position of assistant of the department of anatomy. However, it is still interested in ethology, not medicine. He started working on his thesis on zoology, while reading a course on comparative animal behavior.

In 1937, L. began to lecture on animal psychology in Vienna. At the same time he studied the process of domestication of geese, which includes a loss of acquired skills and the growing role of food and sexual stimuli. L. was deeply concerned about the likelihood that such a process can take place in humans. Shortly after the annexation of Austria by Germany in her invasion of German troops L. did what later would remember this: “Listen bad advice … I wrote an article about the dangers of domestication and … used in his work the worst examples of Nazi terminology.” Some critics call this page L. his scientific biography racist; others tend to regard it as the result of political naivety.

Two years after the receipt of the post in the department of psychology of the University of Konigsberg (now Kaliningrad) L. was drafted into the German army as a military doctor, despite the fact that he never practiced medicine. Sent to the Eastern Front in 1942 he was captured by the Russian and for many years worked in the prison hospital. Repatriated only in 1948, when many friends and relatives thought he was dead for a long time.

In the first years after his return to Austria L. could not get any official position, but also thanks to the financial help of friends continued his studies in Altenberg. In 1950, he and Erich von Holst founded the Institute of Physiology at the Max Planck behavior.

Over the next two decades, L. doing ethological research, focusing on the study of waterfowl. His status founder of modern ethology was undeniable, and as such, he played a leading role in discussions between ethology and representatives of other disciplines, such as psychology, animal behavior.

After retiring in 1973 from the Max Planck Institute for LA continues to conduct research in the Department of Sociology Institute of Comparative Ethology Animal Austrian Academy of Sciences in Altenberg, where he lived until his death in 1989.

In 1927 he married Margaret L. (Gretl) Gebhardt, who was friends with since childhood; the couple had two daughters and one son.


1952 – King Solomon’s Ring / King Solomon’s Ring (Er redete mit dem Vieh, den Vögeln und den Fischen)

1954 – A man finds a friend / Man Meets Dog (So kam der Mensch auf den Hund)

1956 – Evolution and Behavior Change / Evolution and Modification of Behaviour

1963 – Aggression / On Aggression (Das sogenannte Böse. Zur Naturgeschichte der Agression)

1970 1971 – Study of the behavior of humans and animals in the 2 m. / Studies in Animal and Human Behavior, Volume I; Studies in Animal and Human Behavior, Volume II

1973 – Motivation of Human and Animal Behavior: An Ethological View. With Paul Leyhausen

1973 – The reverse side of the mirror / Behind the Mirror: A Search for a Natural History of Human Knowledge (Die Rückseite des Spiegels. Versuch einer Naturgeschichte menschlichen Erkennens)

1973 – 8 deadly sins of humanity / Civilized Man’s Eight Deadly Sins (Die acht Todsünden der zivilisierten Menschheit)

1979 – Year of gray goose / The Year of the Greylag Goose (Das Jahr der Graugans)

1982 – Foundations of ethology / The Foundations of Ethology

1983 – Human Extinction (1983) / The Waning of Humaneness (Der Abbau des Menschlichen)

1988 – Here I Am – Where Are You? – A Lifetime’s Study of the Uncannily Human Behaviour of the Greylag Goose (Hier bin ich – wo bist du?)

1995 – The natural science of the human species: an introduction to the comparative study of behavior – Russian manuscript (1944-1948) / The Natural Science of the Human Species: An Introduction to Comparative Behavioral Research – The Russian Manuscript (1944-1948)

Titles, awards and prizes

Konrad LorenzKonrad Lorenz
Konrad LorenzKonrad Lorenz
Konrad LorenzKonrad Lorenz

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