Experiment objective

Try being a physical anthropologist and make an activity budget for an animal you can observe. You will call this animal your focal animal.

Read more background about this activity in Biruté Galdikas's bio...

You need

  • A focal animal, whether it’s a pet, a human being or a squirrel in the park.
  • A notebook.
  • A pencil.
  • A watch.

Observe your focal animal for at least one hour, writing down what time each new activity starts and how long it lasts. Note what the animal does, how it holds things, posture, utterances, everything. Make two columns: one for the exact time and one for the activity. For instance:

11:02Left hand picks up cup
11:02:05Sips about 5 millilitres

Afterwards, break down the activities into categories like Eating, Moving, or Resting, and add up how much time the animal spent on each. Categories can be divided further. For instance, Eating could show time spent on each type of food. Finally draw a graph to display your results. Your graph could look like this pie chart where each slice represents an activity:

You could also do a graph to show the breakdown of food types; where each column represents a type of food.