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Looking For A Few Good Males

Author: Erika L. Milam
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 0801894190
Size: 29.29 MB
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Approaching the topic from both biological and animal-studies perspectives, Milam not only presents a broad history of sexual selection -- from Darwin to sociobiology -- but also analyzes the animal-human continuum from the perspectives of sex, evolution, and behavior. She asks how social and cultural assumptions influence human-animal research and wonders about the implications of gender on scientific outcomes.

Sexual Selection A Very Short Introduction

Author: Marlene Zuk
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0191084409
Size: 63.90 MB
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What is responsible for the differences between the sexes in so many animals, from the brilliant plumage of birds of paradise to the antlers on deer? And why are the traits that distinguish the sexes sometimes apparently detrimental to survival? Even when they look more or less alike, why do males and females sometimes behave differently? Questions like these have intrigued scientists and the public alike for many years, and new discoveries are showing us both how wildly variable the natural world is, and how some basic principles can help explain much of that variation. Like natural selection, sexual selection is a process that results from differential representation of genes in successive generations. Under sexual selection, however, the crucial characteristics that determine whether an individual reproduces depend on sexual competition, rather than survival ability. This Very Short Introduction considers the history of our understanding of sexual selection, from Darwin's key insights to the modern day. Considering the investment animals place on reproduction, variation in mating systems, sexual conflict, and the origin of sexual dimorphism, Marlene Zuk and Leigh Simmons discuss questions such as whether females can really choose between males on aesthetic grounds, and how sexual conflict is resolved in different species. They conclude with a consideration of the thorny question of how, and even if, sexual selection theory applies to humans. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The Evolution Of Beauty

Author: Richard O. Prum
Publisher: Anchor
ISBN: 0385537220
Size: 72.69 MB
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A FINALIST FOR THE PULITZER PRIZE NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW, SMITHSONIAN, AND WALL STREET JOURNAL A major reimagining of how evolutionary forces work, revealing how mating preferences—what Darwin termed "the taste for the beautiful"—create the extraordinary range of ornament in the animal world. In the great halls of science, dogma holds that Darwin's theory of natural selection explains every branch on the tree of life: which species thrive, which wither away to extinction, and what features each evolves. But can adaptation by natural selection really account for everything we see in nature? Yale University ornithologist Richard Prum—reviving Darwin's own views—thinks not. Deep in tropical jungles around the world are birds with a dizzying array of appearances and mating displays: Club-winged Manakins who sing with their wings, Great Argus Pheasants who dazzle prospective mates with a four-foot-wide cone of feathers covered in golden 3D spheres, Red-capped Manakins who moonwalk. In thirty years of fieldwork, Prum has seen numerous display traits that seem disconnected from, if not outright contrary to, selection for individual survival. To explain this, he dusts off Darwin's long-neglected theory of sexual selection in which the act of choosing a mate for purely aesthetic reasons—for the mere pleasure of it—is an independent engine of evolutionary change. Mate choice can drive ornamental traits from the constraints of adaptive evolution, allowing them to grow ever more elaborate. It also sets the stakes for sexual conflict, in which the sexual autonomy of the female evolves in response to male sexual control. Most crucially, this framework provides important insights into the evolution of human sexuality, particularly the ways in which female preferences have changed male bodies, and even maleness itself, through evolutionary time. The Evolution of Beauty presents a unique scientific vision for how nature's splendor contributes to a more complete understanding of evolution and of ourselves.

Evolution S Rainbow

Author: Joan Roughgarden
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520240735
Size: 49.68 MB
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Challenges traditional views of gender identity and sexual orientation in animals and humans, explaining how diversity is developed from genes and hormones and why it should be celebrated and affirmed.

Darwin In Atlantic Cultures

Author: Jeannette Eileen Jones
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1135178739
Size: 57.52 MB
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This collection is an interdisciplinary edited volume that examines the circulation of Darwinian ideas in the Atlantic space as they impacted systems of Western thought and culture. Specifically, the book explores the influence of the principle tenets of Darwinism -- such as the theory of evolution, the ape-man theory of human origins, and the principle of sexual selection -- on established transatlantic intellectual traditions and cultural practices. In doing so, it pays particular attention to how Darwinism reconfigured discourses on race, gender, and sexuality in a transnational context. Covering the period from the publication of The Origin of Species (1859) to 1933, when the Nazis (National Socialist Party) took power in Germany, the essays demonstrate the dissemination of Darwinian thought in the Western world in an unprecedented commerce of ideas not seen since the Protestant Reformation. Learned societies, literary groups, lyceums, and churches among other sites for public discourse sponsored lectures on the implications of Darwin’s theory of evolution for understanding the very ontological codes by which individuals ordered and made sense of their lives. Collectively, these gatherings reflected and constituted what the contributing scholars to this volume view as the discursive power of the cultural politics of Darwinism.

Creatures Of Cain

Author: Erika Lorraine Milam
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 0691185093
Size: 68.96 MB
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After World War II, the question of how to define a universal human nature took on new urgency. Creatures of Cain charts the rise and precipitous fall in Cold War America of a theory that attributed man’s evolutionary success to his unique capacity for murder. Drawing on a wealth of archival materials and in-depth interviews, Erika Lorraine Milam reveals how the scientists who advanced this “killer ape” theory capitalized on an expanding postwar market in intellectual paperbacks and widespread faith in the power of science to solve humanity’s problems, even to answer the most fundamental questions of human identity. The killer ape theory spread quickly from colloquial science publications to late-night television, classrooms, political debates, and Hollywood films. Behind the scenes, however, scientists were sharply divided, their disagreements centering squarely on questions of race and gender. Then, in the 1970s, the theory unraveled altogether when primatologists discovered that chimpanzees also kill members of their own species. While the discovery brought an end to definitions of human exceptionalism delineated by violence, Milam shows how some evolutionists began to argue for a shared chimpanzee-human history of aggression even as other scientists discredited such theories as sloppy popularizations. A wide-ranging account of a compelling episode in American science, Creatures of Cain argues that the legacy of the killer ape persists today in the conviction that science can resolve the essential dilemmas of human nature.

Primates In The Real World

Author: Georgina M. Montgomery
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
ISBN: 081393740X
Size: 19.81 MB
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The opening of this vital new book centers on a series of graves memorializing baboons killed near Amboseli National Park in Kenya in 2009--a stark image that emphasizes both the close emotional connection between primate researchers and their subjects and the intensely human qualities of the animals. Primates in the Real World goes on to trace primatology’s shift from short-term expeditions designed to help overcome centuries-old myths to the field’s arrival as a recognized science sustained by a complex web of international collaborations. Considering a series of pivotal episodes spanning the twentieth century, Georgina Montgomery shows how individuals both within and outside of the scientific community gradually liberated themselves from primate folklore to create primate science. Achieved largely through a movement from the lab to the field as the primary site of observation, this development reflected an urgent and ultimately extremely productive reassessment of what constitutes "natural" behavior for primates. An important contribution to the history of science and of women’s roles in science, as well as to animal studies and the exploration of the animal-human boundary, Montgomery’s engagingly written narrative provides the general reader with the most accessible overview to date of this enduringly fascinating field of study.

In The Light Of Evolution

Author: National Academy of Sciences
Publisher: National Academies Press
ISBN: 0309444225
Size: 80.90 MB
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Biodiversity--the genetic variety of life--is an exuberant product of the evolutionary past, a vast human-supportive resource (aesthetic, intellectual, and material) of the present, and a rich legacy to cherish and preserve for the future. Two urgent challenges, and opportunities, for 21st-century science are to gain deeper insights into the evolutionary processes that foster biotic diversity, and to translate that understanding into workable solutions for the regional and global crises that biodiversity currently faces. A grasp of evolutionary principles and processes is important in other societal arenas as well, such as education, medicine, sociology, and other applied fields including agriculture, pharmacology, and biotechnology. The ramifications of evolutionary thought also extend into learned realms traditionally reserved for philosophy and religion. The central goal of the In the Light of Evolution (ILE) series is to promote the evolutionary sciences through state-of-the-art colloquia--in the series of Arthur M. Sackler colloquia sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences--and their published proceedings. Each installment explores evolutionary perspectives on a particular biological topic that is scientifically intriguing but also has special relevance to contemporary societal issues or challenges. This tenth and final edition of the In the Light of Evolution series focuses on recent developments in phylogeographic research and their relevance to past accomplishments and future research directions.