Thorleif Schjelderup-Ebbe

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Portrait c. 1930 from the Oslo Museum ThorleifSchjelderupEbbe.jpg
Portrait c. 1930 from the Oslo Museum

Thorleif Schjelderup-Ebbe (12 November 1894 in Kristiania – 8 June 1976 in Oslo) [1] was a Norwegian zoologist and comparative psychologist.



Thorleif Schjelderup-Ebbe described the pecking order of hens in his PhD dissertation of 1921. [2] The work in his dissertation was partly based on his observations of his own chickens that he had recorded since the age of 10. [3]

The dominance hierarchy of chickens and other birds that he studied led him to the observation that these birds had established the order in which individuals would be allowed to get to food while others would have to wait for their turn.

Personal life

He was the son of sculptors Axel Emil Ebbe (1868–1941) and Menga Schjelderup (1871–1945). He was married to Torbjørg Brekke. Their son was Dag Schjelderup-Ebbe, a musicologist, composer, music critic and biographer.



  1. Thorleif Schjelderup-Ebbe – utdypning (Norsk biografisk leksikon)
  2. Porter G. Perrin (1955) 'Pecking Order' 1927-54 American Speech, 30(4):265–268
  3. The Ape and the Sushi Master, Frans de Waal, 2001

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