Record

Authorised form of nameTinbergen; Nikolaas (1907 - 1988)
Other forms of nameTinbergen, Niko
SurnameTinbergen
ForenamesNikolaas
Dates1907 - 1988
NationalityDutch
Dates and placesBirth:
15 April 1907
Death:
21 December 1988
ActivityProfession:
Biologist
Research Field:
Animal behaviour; ethology; zoology; human behaviour; autism
Royal Society activityMembership:
Fellow
Election Date:
25/03/1962
Medals/Prizes:
Nobel Prize (Physiology or Medicine) 1973
Lectures:
Croonian 1972
RelationshipsSon of Dirk Cornelis Tinbergen and his wife Jeannette van Eek.; Married Elisabeth 'Lies' Rutten (1932); Brother of Jan Tinbergen, nobel prize winning economist; Uncle of Joost Tinbergen who also worked as one of his researchers
General contextNikolaas 'Niko' Tinbergen, Dutch biologist, ornithologist and animal behaviourist, was born 15 April 1907 and died 21 December 1988. He is regarded as one of the founders of modern ethology; the study of animal behaviour. In 1973 he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Karl von Frisch and Konrad Lorenz for their discoveries concerning organisation and elicitation of individual and social behaviour patterns in animals. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1962.

Tinbergen moved from Leiden to England in 1949 and taught at the University of Oxford where he was a fellow first at Merton College and later at Wolfson College. In 1951, he published 'The Study of Instinct', an influential book on animal behaviour. In the 1960s and 70s, he collaborated with filmmaker Hugh Falkus on a series of wildlife films, including The Riddle of the Rook (1972) and Signals for Survival (1969). He was appointed Professor of Animal Behaviour in 1966 and retired in 1974.

At Oxford Tinbergen built up 'The Animal Behaviour Research Group' which had a profound influence on the development of ethology round the world. In particular, his research focused on the adaptedness of behaviour; work on the herring gull he had initiated in the Netherlands developed into comparative studies of many gull species. The Group had a field base at Walney Island. Several of his graduate students went on to become prominent biologists including Richard Dawkins FRS, Marian Dawkins, Desmond Morris, Iain Douglas-Hamilton, Bill Hamilton, John Krebs FRS, Mike Cullen and Tony Sinclair.

Tinbergen also applied his observational methods to the problems of autistic children. After retiring from Oxford University in 1974, he and his wife, Lies Tinbergen, collaborated on a study of childhood autism publishing 'Autistic Children - new hope for a cure' in 1983.
SourcesAssocMaterial:
Catalogues NCUACS 27/3/9; NCUACS 79/8/98; NCUACS 163/6/08. Papers deposited in the Department of Western Manuscripts, Bodleian Library, Oxford
Obituaries:
Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 1990 vol 36 pp 547-565, plate, by R A Hinde
Royal Society codeNA1869
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
EC/1962/24Tinbergen, Nikolaas: certificate of election to the Royal Society
MS/924/2/12Notecards from Nikolaas Tinbergen to Lawrence Shafferc. 1967-1990
MS/924/2/1Letters of Nikolaas Tinbergen to Lawrence Shaffer with associated papers 19671967
MS/924/2/6Letters of Nikolaas Tinbergen to Lawrence Shaffer with associated papers 19721972
MS/924/2/2Letters of Nikolaas Tinbergen to Lawrence Shaffer with associated papers 19681968
MS/924/1/3Photo negatives of Nikolaas Tinbergen and the Oxford Animal Behaviour Research Group by Lawrence Shaffer1968-1976
MS/924/1Photographic material relating to Nikolaas Tinbergben and the Oxford Animal Behaviour Research Groupc.1968-1990
MS/924/2Correspondence and associated papers of Nikolaas and Lies Tinbergen to Lawrence and Beth Shaffer1967-1990
MS/924/1/1Photographs of Nikolaas Tinbergen by Lawrence Shaffer1970
MS/924/2/3Letters of Nikolaas Tinbergen to Lawrence Shaffer with associated papers 19691969
MS/924/2/4Letters of Nikolaas Tinbergen to Lawrence Shaffer with associated papers 19701970
MS/924/2/8Letters of Nikolaas Tinbergen to Lawrence Shaffer with associated papers 19741974
IM/GA/WRS/9060Tinbergen, Nikolaasnd
MS/924/2/9Letters of Nikolaas and Lies Tinbergen to Lawrence and Beth Shaffer with associated papers 19751975
MS/924/2/10Letters of Nikolaas and Lies Tinbergen to Lawrence and Beth Shaffer with associated papers 19761976
MS/924/2/11Letters of Nikolaas and Lies Tinbergen to Lawrence and Beth Shaffer with associated papers 1977-19901977-1990
MS/924Correspondence and photographic material of Nikolaas Tinbergen and the Oxford Animal Behaviour Research Group, compiled by Lawrence Shaffer1967-1990
MS/924/1/2Photographic slides of Nikolaas Tinbergen and the Oxford Animal Behaviour Research Group by Lawrence Shaffer1969-1974
MS/924/2/5Letters of Nikolaas Tinbergen to Lawrence Shaffer with associated papers 19711971
MS/924/2/7Letters of Nikolaas Tinbergen to Lawrence Shaffer with associated papers 19731973
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