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Animal lifestyles and anatomies. The case of the prosimian primates. By Charles E. Oxnard Robin H. Crompton and Susan S. Lieberman. Seattle University of Washington Press. 1990. ix + 174 pp. $35

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Book Reviews
PRIMATES. By Charles E. oxnard, Robin H. Crompton, and Susan S.
Lieberman. Seattle: University of Washington Press. 1990. ix + 174 pp. $35.00
The keynote speaker at a recent conference on biology teaching ronounced that
functional morphology ha no more to contribute to modern biological science.Animal
Lifestyles and Anatomies demonstrates, to
para hrase Mark Twain, that the news of
this emise is greatly exaggerated. This is a
valuable attempt to collect and describe locomotor, habitat, and behavioral data and the
ways in which they interact to define the
relationship between species and environments.
Its greatest success lies in achieving one of
the authors’ main goals: to use a “multidimensional multivariate ap roach. . . to describe the available data on ocomotor behavior, habitat utilization, and diet” ( . 18). Its
greatest disappointment is the imitation
imposed upon interpretation of some of these
descriptions by lack of consistent data across
taxa and habitats.
The authors’ use of projections on a polar
coordinate system for the preliminary display of available data is extremely successful. The collection, coding, and display of all
these data alone would be a commendable
feat, but the resulting profiles also underscore differences in the way these variables
are combined. This is especially true when
species or roups of s ecies share tendencies
not to exhi it a speci ic set of characteristics.
These negative data are very important for
identifying how a species relates to its environment but easily may be overlooked.
Throughout Chapter 3, there is a frank
discussion of the weaknesses in the interpretation of the data due to a lack of equally
detailed and reliable data across taxa. For
example, there are at least half a dozen field
studies cited for Perodicticuspotto, as well as
film, videotape, and x-ray cinematogra h .
On the other hand, there are only two
studies and no cinematic record of Arctocebus calabarensis. The reader must take seriously the authors’ caveat in this chapter that
further study might change the profiles presented here. By extension one must ask
which of the subsequent descriptive and analytical studies might be affected by new
Chapter 4 makes the case that species can
be grouped by similarities in their profiles on
the polar coordinate plots. These groups are
formed by examining in turn locomotor activity, habitat utilization, and dietary preference data. The success of the polar coordinate plots is most evident here, but this
chapter is also where the first questions
arise as to how outliers are assigned to these
For exam le, although Galago garnetti
andMicroce us coquereli are considered outliers to the sixth species group defined by
dietary variables, the authors argue that the
strong dependence of these species on fruit
and animal items justifies their inclusion in
this group (pp. 114-115). Yet these species
seem to fit equally well in the second dietary
s ecies group which the authors describe as
s owing (‘a linear trend from least fruit
. . . toward most fruit, though with still a
dependence upon animal items. . .” (pp.
110-1 11).
The data values for dietary variables for
the two species at the end of that trend,
Galago zanzibaricus and Nycticebus coucang, are nearly indistinguishable from
those of Galago garnetti and Microcebus coquereli, assigned as outliers to the sixth
dietary group. In addition, data for three of
these species are reported from only two field
studies each. Often the data for more than
one species were derived from the same report, further reducing the number of independent observations of these variables.
The bi gest disappointments in this work
are in C apter 5 , perhaps only because it
holds the most promise. The multivariate
descriptive and analytical studies that are
summarized here give an idea of the possibilities for this approach, but the reader really
must refer to other published works to see
the details of different grou ing methodologies and their limitations. T e authors seem
enthusiastic about the potential of canonical
variates analysis to inform us about the
statistical significance of the different
groupings, but report whether differences
are significant in only two cases (pp. 124,
Animal Lifestyles and Anatomies is valuable for its success in collecting, reporting,
and describing available data on diet, locomotor activity, and habitat utilization in
prosimian primates. This helps to achieve
the authors second goal, t o “produce reasonably objective, readily comparable, and easily replicable and testable descriptions” (p.
149).In their current form, it is possible with
only the summary data in the olar coordinate plots to carry out genera descriptive
and analytical studies, and this will encourage other researchers to do so. This work is
also important for pointing out what data are
missing and which species urgently need
further study t o prevent irreparable loss of
important data on endangered prosimians.
Animal Lifestyles and Anatomies is more
of a compass than a road ma . It shows
clearly the directiods) we nee to go and
gives some valuable suggestions about how
to ge there. It also shows, happily, the very
active role that functional morphology can
have in future of biological research and lays
down the challenge to all of us interested in
the interactions among diet, habitat, and
morphology. This volume is a valuable first
step on the road to that integration.
Division of Behavioral Biology
Harvard Medical School
New E n land Regional Primate
Researc Center
Southborough, Massachusetts
ON ITS HIS- through ill-defined yearnings for meaning”
IMPLICA-(p. 2.)
TIONS. B Michael Ruse. New York: RoutThese essays are neither mushy nor m sledge, Cgapman and Hall. 1989. ix + 299 tical, but insightful and intriguing. ryhe
pp. $25.00 (cloth).
three articles in Part I, “Historical Themes,”
consider the influence of 18th century logical
Michael Ruse’s earlier books, The Darwin- empiricism on Darwin’s views, Darwin’s
ian Revolution, Darwinism Defended, and views on group selection, and whether the
Taking Darwin Seriously have focused on plate tectonics “revolution” in geology is a
the history, science, and philosophy of Dar- genuine Kuhnian shift. Part 11, “Contempowinism, respectively, and are well regarded rary Issues,” considers the controversy over
in the field. The Darwinian Paradigm looks species as individuals vs. species as groups of
at Darwinism from all three perspectives, individuals, whether the emergence of puncand is therefore an excellent introduction to tuated equilibria represents a paradigm
this prolific writer’s works.
shift, and the role of teleology in Darwinism.
These essays are linked by a consideration Human sociobiology, feminism and biologiof Thomas Kuhn’s scientific paradi
cal science, and “extraterrestrial evolution
con- and morality” comprise Part 111, “Human
cept. As Ruse states in the intro uction,
Darwinism (evolution by natural selection, Perspectives.”A single article, newly written
strongly dependent on the adaptation con- for this collection, “Evolutionary Theory and
cept) is to him a strong and successful unify- Christian Ethics,” comprises Part N,‘Ultiing paradigm or “world picture.” Fellow phi- mate Questions.”
losophers of science and other scientists
The flavor of the book is more PhilosoPhiseem less enthusiastic than he, especially in cal than scientific, as Ruse is writing more to
the extension of Darwinian interpretations philoso hers to interest them in Darwinism,
to humans. “I want to show you just why and is ealing with philosophical themes of
Darwinism, even (es ecially) extended to epistemolo , morality, and the like more
humans, just ‘feels rig t’ to me. At the same frequently gi:
t an with ‘ straight” biology. But
time, I ho e I shall avoid being mushy and scientists likewise profit from consideration
mystical. volution through natural selec- of these themes, especially today when evotion must succeed on its own merits, and not lution and other scientific ideas are under
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1990, oxnard, anatomies, university, charles, lifestyle, seattle, crompton, lieberman, susan, primate, 174, washington, animals, robit, case, prosimian, pres
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