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Energy and effort. Symposia of the Society for the Study of Human Biology. Volume 22. Edited by G.A. Harrison. London Taylor & Francis. 1982. ix + 323 pp. figures tables references index. 16

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The stylistic problems with the volume are
threefold. First, Charnov’s mathematical discussions are occasionally sloppy, relative to
the formal precision and lucidity of the best
theoreticians. It is generally possible to discover his reasoning, but such a task should
not be imposed in a book of this kind. Second,
Charnov frequently provides introductory
lists of questions or themes that one expects
to structure the material following. Too often,
these signposts are then ignored, and the
discussion wanders on, coming to a n end that
is not a conclusion. Third, the English is not
inspiring. In many ways, the book needs
thorough subediting, a problem that is not
uncommon these days.
Nonetheless, The Theory of Sex Allocation
is both useful and stimulating, trailing many
leads that future investigators should pick
up and sail with.
Department of Biology
Dalhousie University
HalifM; Nova Scotia, Canada
AND EFFORT.Symposia of the Soci- and Endemic Disease,” by Collins provides a
ety for the Study of Human Biology. Vol- very interesting examination of the effects of
ume 22. Edited by G.A. Harrison. London: schistosomiasis on work performance among
Taylor & Francis. 1982. ix + 323 pp., fig- Sudanese cane cutters.
ures, tables, references, index. f16.00
The next five chapters deal with issues of
human nutrition. The first of these is contro(cloth).
versial, being a critique of the concept and
practice of establishing energy requirements
This volume presents a series of papers for populations or nations. Rivers and Payne
given at the 49th meeting of the Society for write a scathing indictment of current estithe Study of Human Biology (SSHB). Its title mates of energy requirements produced by
gives the central theme of the meetings held international committees such as FAONHO.
January 7-8, 1981. The organizers (Profes- They recognize that their contribution will
sors J.S. Weiner, J.M. Tanner, D.F. Roberts, be criticised as totally negative and they
and G.A. Harrison) chose energetics as one claim, rightly so, that such is their honest
possible focus for the examination of “the assessment. The following paper by Weymes
functioning of whole human populations in a concludes its first paragraph with the senholistic way” (p. viii). The second focus on tence, “Someone has to assess how much food
effort reflects all of the subjective influences is required to feed populations” (p. 107), and
and choices made by individuals who are en- it goes on to discuss the determinants of nugaged in the expenditure of energy. Thus tritional need. I suspect that Rivers and
both the biological and social aspects of hu- Payne’s contribution stimulated some of the
man population studies are covered in the lively discussions mentioned by Harrison in
book, but the two are largely dealt with in his preface to the volume.
separate chapters.
Ferro-Luzzi contributes a n extremely interResearch of the sort described in this vol- esting and important paper on the conume is usually multidisciplinary in person- straints encountered in undertaking energynel. That fact is reflected in chapters intake studies. Her discussion of individual
contributed by human physiologists, a psy- variation in intake versus sample size and
chologist, a n epidemiologist, nutritionists, length of survey should be required reading
economists, social anthropologists, a n ar- for anyone contemplating such research.
chaeologist, a geographer, and physical anThe fourth nutritional chapter by Norgan
thropologistshman biologists.
details the description, nature, and assessThe book begins with two basic primers on ment of energy stores in the human body. A
definitions and methods of measurement of brief discussion of genetic factors underwork (Nelms) and mental effort (Brown). scores the relative lack of information on this
Cotes et al. follow with a survey of the factors subject. In the fifth paper of this section, Bliss
influencing human work capacity. The fourth and Stern use utility functions to show a
chapter, “Energy Expenditure, Productivity theoretical relationship between worker’s
weight, consumption of food, and productivity over the long-term.
The next four chapters are written by anthropologists and reflect quite disparate perspectives. Wallman presents a series of
propositions concerning the concept of work.
These arose from a 1979 conference of social
anthropologists that was organized to discuss
this topic. Harris notes the “new orthodoxy”
with regard to hunter-gatherers and then examines the optimal foraging model as it applies to Aborigines in Northern Australia.
He concludes that the model appears to fit
the contemporary data despite considerable
dietary change.
The next two papers are challenges to the
validity of energetics studies as conducted by
human biologists. Richards would replace
quantitative assessment with dialogue between the investigator and the people studied. Burnham, in what must be the most
controversial paper in the book, begins with
a swipe a t H.T. Odum; continues with backhands at M. Harris, A.P. Vayda, and R. Rappaport; and ends with a long diatribe against
the IBP Andean project of P.T. Baker and
coworkers, generally, and the pioneering energy-flow work of R. Brooke Thomas, specifically.
The very next paper by Thomas et al. provides a reasoned response to Burnham, noting particularly the latter’s disregard for
what a model is and how it can be useful. In
a postscript, the authors note Burnham’s use
of early, summary sources in his critique and
express disappointment at the unrealistic expectations that he holds. They conclude with
a comment about the controversy being a
“paper confrontation” that makes the reader
wonder whether Burnham attended the conference or amended his paper subsequent
to it.
After these fireworks, Energy and Effort
concludes with two interesting papers on the
efficiency (Bayliss-Smith) and comparative
economics (Spedding) of agricultural systems. There is no summary or concluding
chapter by the editor.
This book is attractively packaged, tightly
organized, and largely free of the typographic errors that so often plague such
works. I found less than one typo per chapter.
My only and minor quibble is with the placement of figures and tables that often seemed
to be out of order with their mention in the
This book is an excellent source of references, stressing the work of European researchers. It has a great deal of how-to and
how-not-to information stored in its chapters
for those interested in human energetics research. It should have its largest market
among human ecologists and the students
they teach in anthropology, biology, geography, or any other department. Additionally, human physiologists and nutritionists
will find stimulating material of concern to
their fields. I highly recommend Energy and
Effort to those planning energetics research.
The volume is dedicated to the memory of
J.S. Weiner and stands as a fitting reminder
of his life-long productive scholarship.
Department of Anthropology
Indiana University
Bloomington, Indiana
to social equality.” The book’s one-page Introduction elaborates other such hopeful
propositions. Another is that deterministic
models cannot deal satisfactorily with a variety of fundamental biological phenomena
(several of which are touched on in this volume). As alternatives the editors suggest inThis book is a hardbound set of symposium teractive models, those which incorporate
papers. The presentations originally were de- both genetic information and lifelong envilivered a t a meeting of the American Anthro- ronmental experiences.
pological Association, the session having
Professor Dyson-Hudson’s own paper is tibeen organized by Rada Dyson-Hudson in a n tled “An Interactive Model of Human Biologattempt “. . . to reconcile the implications of ical and Behavioral Adaptation.” The author
natural selection theory with a commitment sees what the chapter presents as “. . . a
Edited by
R. Dyson-Hudson and M.A. Little. Boulder,
CO: Westview Press. 1983. xii + 180 pp.,
figures, tables, references, index. $20.00
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