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Animal behavior. Fourth Edition. By John Alock. Sunderland MA Sinauer Associates Inc. 1988. xvll + 596 pp. figures tables biolography index. $34

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Fourth Edition. By John
Alcock. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates Inc. 1988. xvll + 596 pp., figures, tables, biolography, index. $34.95 (cloth).
The textbook Animal Behavior: An Euolutionary Approach should be a part of the
training of any student of the behavior of
animals in their ecological context, including
primates. As a learning guide to asking questions and to testing hypotheses about behavior, it just keeps etting better.
The fourth efition declares its nature
strongly. All editions of the text have been
unabashedly Darwinian and geared to the
study of behavior in a context of selective
pressures on individuals. The current edition clearly divorces itself from both the
group selection hypothesis and the macroevolutionary hypothesis, arguing for gradualism and individual selection. Indeed, Alcock
uses both group selection and macroevolution to generate alternative hypotheses to
test against the data, usually to their detriment.
Alcock succeeds in emphasizing the significance and fun of using multiple working
hypotheses while studying behavior. Hypothesis testing is woven into each chapter.
This, together with the emphasis on science
as an unfinished, ongoing process, makes
the fourth edition a better proponent of
ethology and of basic science in general than
the earlier editions.
Words are well used in this book. Terms,
including traditionally difficult concepts
such as instinct, learning, polygeny, and
Peter J. Wilson. New Haven, CT: Yale
University Press. 1989. xvi + 201 pp., references, index. $18.50 (cloth).
In this book, Wilson explores the evolutionary implications of settlement in permanent, built structures, or houses. He calls
this process “human domestication” and observes that it was probably a more significant event for human development than the
domestication of plants and animals. As primates, people make heavy social use of vi-
pleiotropy are clear and are presented repeatedly. Strong colloquial terms appear,
e.g., an anole lizard may be “nailed by a
sparrow hawk. Alcock seems to prefer clear,
descriptive words to long ones.
There are several things the text is not. It
is not a text in experimental design nor in
statistics. It does not cover the interaction of
behavior with molecular biology, since being
able to identify all the genes necessary for a
kind of behavior is not necessary to ask
questions generated by an evolutionary
viewpoint. Perhaps properly for a text, it
limits its range to academic animal behavior
and does not contribute to the debates on
how to decide what is “normal”or what is the
“psychological well-being” of a species in
terms of species typical behaviors. On the
other hand, an adaptationist perspective
should have some input into these debates.
This is a text from an evolutionary, adaptationist perspective. To the extent that anthropology is an evolutionary, biological science, the viewpoint of this book is relevant to
anthropologists. Primate behavior examples
include reciprocity and the relation of dominance and mating success in baboons, selective feeding in howler monkeys, low-range
communication frequencies in blue monkeys, infanticide in hanuman langurs, insight learning in chimpanzees, and the effects of rearing experience in rhesus
Department of Neuroscience
Oregon Regional Primate Research Center
Bea ue rton, Oregon
sual stimuli, paying constant attention to
each other. The concealment that houses
made possible fundamentally altered people’s perceptions of each other, thus creating
conditions fostering cultural evolution.
Wilson opposes giving theoretical priority
to economic determinism. His interpretations are consistently emic and nonmaterialist, emphasizing the role of “moral” and aesthetic elements of society, especially as these
are modified by architecture. He distinguishes three types of human society: paleolithic, or mobile hunter-gatherers; sedentary, or domestic society; and urban,
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