Why aren't ethograms used in animal behavior studies anymore?
Not sure what type of studies you’re thinking of, but ethograms (a list used to categorize, name and describe specific behaviors of interest) are often used in animal behavior research.
Ethograms allow for the objective classification of behaviors and enable Ethologists / Behaviorists to measure the frequency, duration, and orientation (social context) of these interest behaviors. Ethograms may not always be included in the study’s publication, but that’s more a result of space limitations for print journals than anything else. Even so you’ll often find the ethogram(s) used in a particular study included as:
1. A reference- the researchers are using the same ethogram as an already published study or technical report (e.g. “behavior was scored as…. [Crockett et al., 1995]”) (x) 2. A table - typically this is a partial ethogram which only includes the behaviors most relevant to the study (x)
3. A diagram - because pictures / drawings make everything easier (x)
4. The appendix / supplemental materials - aka. This table is too big so we stuck it at the end) (x)
Ethograms are a fundamental tool of Ethologists / Behaviorists. But just like any other tool, they’re only as good as the researcher using them. Distinct terms, clear definitions, and species / study topic relevance are of the utmost importance.
Journal Sources (from the examples above plus a few extras):
Crockett, Carolyn M., Mika Shimoji, and Douglas M. Bowden. “Behavior, appetite, and urinary cortisol responses by adult female pigtailed macaques to cage size, cage level, room change, and ketamine sedation.” American Journal of Primatology 52.2 (2000): 63-80. (x)
Genty, Emilie, and Klaus Zuberbühler. “Spatial reference in a bonobo gesture.”Current Biology 24.14 (2014): 1601-1605. (x)
Gottlieb, Daniel H., Kristine Coleman, and Brenda McCowan. “The effects of predictability in daily husbandry routines on captive rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta).” Applied animal behaviour science 143.2 (2013): 117-127. (x)
Gottlieb, Daniel H., et al. “Efficacy of 3 types of foraging enrichment for rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta).” Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science: JAALAS 50.6 (2011): 888. (x)
Jantzen, Troy M., and Jon N. Havenhand. “Reproductive behavior in the squid Sepioteuthis australis from South Australia: ethogram of reproductive body patterns.” The Biological Bulletin 204.3 (2003): 290-304. (x)
Nishida, Toshisada, et al. “Ethogram and Ethnography of Mahale Chimpanzees.” Anthropological Science 107.2 (1999): 141-188. (x)
Ransom, Jason I., and Brian S. Cade. “Quantifying Equid Behavior–A Research Ethogram for Free-Roaming Feral Horses.” Publications of the US Geological Survey (2009): 26. (x)
Regan, Fran H., et al. “Behavioural repertoire of working donkeys and consistency of behaviour over time, as a preliminary step towards identifying pain-related behaviours.” PloS one 9.7 (2014): e101877. (x)
Senter, Phil, Shannon M. Harris, and Danielle L. Kent. “Phylogeny of Courtship and Male-Male Combat Behavior in Snakes.” (2014): e107528. (x)