EthoSeq: A tool for phylogenetic analysis and data mining in behavioral sequences

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2006-11-01

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Psychonomic Soc Inc

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This article introduces the software program called EthoSeq, which is designed to extract probabilistic behavioral sequences (tree-generated sequences, or TGSs) from observational data and to prepare a TGS-species matrix for phylogenetic analysis. The program uses Graph Theory algorithms to automatically detect behavioral patterns within the observational sessions. It includes filtering tools to adjust the search procedure to user-specified statistical needs. Preliminary analyses of data sets, such as grooming sequences in birds and foraging tactics in spiders, uncover a large number of TGSs which together yield single phylogenetic trees. An example of the use of the program is our analysis of felid grooming sequences, in which we have obtained 1,386 felid grooming TGSs for seven species, resulting in a single phylogeny. These results show that behavior is definitely useful in phylogenetic analysis. EthoSeq simplifies and automates such analyses, uncovers much of the hidden patterns of long behavioral sequences, and prepares this data for further analysis with standard phylogenetic programs. We hope it will encourage many empirical studies on the evolution of behavior.

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Behavior Research Methods. Austin: Psychonomic Soc Inc., v. 38, n. 4, p. 549-556, 2006.

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