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Ecological communities. Edited by D.R. Strong Jr. D. Simberloff L.G. Abele and A.B. Thistle. Princeton NJ Princeton University Press. 1984. xiii + 613 pp. figures tables references indices. $60.00 (cloth) $22

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134
BOOK REVIEWS
it must be pointed out that it is not universally accepted that there were three contemporary species present in Africa at 2.0 million
years. Evidence for the presence of A. apt
cunus at this time is not convincing to some
researchers. Assignment of such specimens
as Petralona, Arago, Swanscombe, and other
European fossils to Homo erectus has not
found broad acceptance, and many researchers find the evidence for H. erectus in Europe
totally lacking.
The subject matter in this volume is presented in a manner that should sustain the
interest of the student. Organization within
each section is well thought out, and the
illustrations are well chosen and supportive
of the text. I counted only five misspellings,
but the use of English spellings, such as “ar-
chaeology”, “palaeoanthropology”, and “behaviour,” may be irritating to some readers.
In spite of the criticisms, I strongly recommend the use of Lewin’s Human Evolution
as a supplementary text in an introductory
course on human evolution. Lewin accurately portrays the dynamic attitude of the
field of human origins today and in a delightful style renders it easily accessible to the
reader.
ECOLOGICAL
COMMUNITIES.
Edited by D.R.
Strong, Jr., D. Simberloff, L.G. Abele, and
A.B. Thistle. Princeton, N J Princeton University Press. 1984. xiii + 613 pp., figures,
tables, references, indices. $60.00 (cloth),
$22.50 (paper).
In examining this paradigm, many of the
contributors to this volume argue that there
is little evidence from either field studies or
natural experiments to support a competition model. Evidence presented in papers by
Strong, Wise, Seifert, Lawton, Dayton, Simberloff, and Connor and Simberloff on a variety of insect, marine, intertidal, and certain avian communities indicates that factors such as predation, parasites, abiotic
perturbation, resource patchiness, and stochastic processes of migration and extinction
act to maintain natural populations far below densities that promote interspecific competition. Furthermore, these authors feel that
the hypotheses used to test for competition
have generally been poorly designed and
characterized by inappropriately constructed
null models. Wise (p. 42) states: “Tests for
competition frequently have been indirect,
relying upon inferences from patterns that
are consistent with competition theory but
that may have alternate explanations.”
The construction of proper and unbiased
null models to examine processes in community ecology is central to this debate. A null
or neutral hypothesis is a model of randomness that takes into account all factors other
than the factor whose explanatory value is
being tested. If observational data are consistent with the pattern predicted by the null
model, then it cannot be rejected, and the
posited factor cannot be considered to have a
major effect on the system. Constructing such
Ecological Communities is the proceedings
of a symposium held in 1981 and presents a
comprehensive examination and reexamination of fundamental issues regarding ecological interactions and levels of organization in
natural communities. The book is divided
into six sections (Experimental Tests; Biogeographic Evidence on Communities; Marine
Community Paradigms; Morphology, Species
Combinations, and Coexistence; Food Web
Design; and Community Changes in Time
and Space)and includes 28 articles. The common theme that binds these works together
is an evaluation of a central paradigm in
community ecology: Interspecific competition is a major force in structuring animal
and plant communities. This NeoMalthusian
approach assumes that the composition and
ecological interactions of species in natural
systems are driven by density-dependent factors of population pressure and decreases in
resource availability. In these systems, coexistence and equilibrium are ultimately
achieved through extinctions, displacements,
and evolutionary change leading to significant interspecific differences in morphology,
behavior, and resource utilization.
DONALD
C. JOHANSON
The Institute of Human Origins
Berkeley, California
LITERATURE CITED
Lovejoy, CO (1981) The origin of man. Science 211:341350.
BOOK REVIEWS
a model to examine patterns and processes
in community ecology, however, is extremely
problematic. As Gilpin and Diamond (p. 302)
correctly question: “How can one devise a
null model that does not implicitly contain
effects of competition and that would be rejected as a result of competitive effects in the
observed data base but not as a result of
other effects?” Colwell and Winkler (p. 3581,
in an excellent theoretical paper using computer simulation and specified rules of colonization, extinction, competition, and noncompetitive species interactions, model the
development of ecological communities on islands. Their findings reiterate the fact that
current null models are unable to distinguish
between the influences of competitive and
stochastic processes: “The counteracting effects of competitive elimination and correlations between vagility and morphology can
produce communities that are with current
techniques indistinguishable from random
assemblages of the component species” ( p.
3581.” The controversies generated by this
volume are likely to continue for some years
to come.
Unfortunately, this volume contributes little to the field of biological anthropology. Despite the fact that many anthropologists are
involved in issues concerned with human and
nonhuman primate ecology and ecological
135
models of community organization and competition, only one of the 28 articles deals
even peripherally with the ecology of a mammalian community (Brown and Bower’s paper on guild structure in chipmunks of the
genus Eutamias). Most of the studies examine insect, marine, and intertidal communities and as such offer little direct insight into
the evolutionary processes that have shaped
primate communities. For example, articles
in this volume examine hispine beetles that
live in scrolls formed by young Heliconia
leaves (Strong), competition in spider communities (Wise), fly larvae inhabiting Helt
conk inflorescences (Seifert), herbivorous
insects feeding on bracken (Lawton), and so
on. The fundamental weakness of Ecological
Communities has nothing to do with either
the quality of the articles or the scope of the
issues addressed, but rather with the failure
of the editors to solicit comparable information on the ecology and structure of mammalian communities.
PAUL A. GARBER
Department of Anthropology
University of Illinois
Urbana, Illinois
The volume begins and ends with chapters
ESSAYSIN HUMANSOCIOBIOLOGY.
Edited by
Jan Wind. London: Academic Press. 1985. by the editor, Jan Wind. In his introductory
Distributed by the European Sociobiologi- chapter Wind characterizes sociobiology, procal Society, PO Box 7161-MF’305, 1007MC vides an overview of the book’s other chapAmsterdam, Netherlands. 164 pp., figures, ters, and gives his own assessment of sociobiology’s potential contribution to the social
tables, references. $16.00 (paper).
and behavioral sciences. He argues that this
The European Sociobiological Society has contribution, while not negligible, is likely
over 100 members, representing a wide vari- to be less than has often been supposed, and
ety of academic disciplines from 21 countries, this theme is echoed in a number of other
including Israel, India, Canada, the United chapters. The final chapter consists of short
States, and, of course,the countries of East- reviews of 23 recently published books dealern and Western Europe. The Society’s pri- ing with various aspects of an evolutionary
mary objective is to serve as a forum for “the perspective on human affairs, a heroic task
study of the role of biological factors in the for which we should be grateful to Dr. Wind.
Most of the essays are rather philosophical
behaviour of animals and man, with special
emphasis on evolutionary aspects.” The pres- and abstract, containing few new data, and
ent volume, a slightly adapted reprint of a many are critical of certain trends within
special edition of the Journal of Human E v e sociobiology. There are discussions of the
lution (13/1, 1984), consists of 15 chapters by similarities and differences between organic
and cultural evolution, the nature of altrumembers of the Society.
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