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Man. By Richard J. Harrison and William Montagna. 387 pp. and 96 figures. Appleton-Century-Crofts New York. 1969. $4

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BOOK REVIEWS
evolution, including some of the evidences
for evolution and something of the historical record. This is followed by a section on genetics, starting with DNA,
protein synthesis, and the genetic code.
Then comes traditional Mendelism, cytogenetics, and sex-determination. There
is more than the usual amount of material on polygenic inheritance, heritability,
variance partition, and the nature-nurture dilemma, with particular emphasis
on human intelligence. Population genetics and elementary selection theory
are included, followed by a more detailed
treatment of gene and chromosome mutation, and their evolutionary consequences, The final sections deal with
human diversity, human population structure, and “management” of the human
gene pool.
How valid is Lerner’s assumption that,
of all biology, the most important area
for a nonbiologist is evolution and hereditary? I think a strong case can be made.
At the center of biological generalizations
is the idea of evolution by natural selection. This might lead one to expect a
common material basis €or heredity and
variation, and it is the triumph of molecular biology to provide a profound demonstration of this. Another possible area of
concentration, which could make a strong
claim for the student’s primary consideration, would be ecology, including conservation, pollution, and food supply. But
these don’t have the strong central
theories-the
simplicity-of
the Darwinian idea and the universality and depth
of molecular understanding of the gene.
In any event, Lerner emphasizes several
times that the world has too many people,
or soon will have.
How well does the book succeed? In
my opinion, very well indeed. Lerner has
a graceful writing style that makes reading pleasant. He once again makes use
of his device of putting examples, further
explanations, tabular material and ancillary points in “boxes.” Enough chemical and mathematical details are given
to give the reader some insights into the
processes that are being described, yet
no background in either is assumed. The
author has a talent for picking out subjects that are quite difficult to understand
(e.g., heritability) and giving simple intui-
457
tive explanations. The only fault is the
completely excusable one of making the
subject seem simpler than it really is.
One of the best humanizing devices
is a series of “biographical vignettes” to
give a picture of the man and his role in
society. The three subjects-Galton,
Haldane and Chetverikov-are
chosen
“because of the socially significant overtones in their life work.” The choices are
excellent and the vignettes are just right
for the purposes of this book-for
the
humanist is interested in scientists as
well as science. In fact, the device is so
good that I wish it had been extended
further. In the next edition one might
like to see Mendel, Darwin, Malthus,
Lamarck, Huxley, Muller, Bridges, Garrod, Meischer, and Fisher. Or-if
people
who are still active were to be includedWright, Watson, Crick, Lederberg, Simpson, Khorana, Lysenko.
I was going to criticize the book for a
deficiency of references, but then I received a copy of the “Teachers Manual”
that the publishers have put out along
with the book. This includes references
and also a number of problems and answers. The reader who wants to be his
own teacher had better get a copy of this
along with the book.
JAMES F. CROW
Unzuersity of Wisconsin
MAN. By Richard J. Harrison and William
Montagna. 387 pp. and 96 figures. Appleton-Century-Crofts, New York. 1969.
$4.95.
Man by Harrison and Montagna is a
general overview on human biology,
achieved in part by making frequent
comparisons between man and nonhuman
primates, and occasionally with other
mammals. Some topics are treated in a
highly original and entertaining way, and
excellent illustrations accompany the text.
Both in level of presentation and in
accuracy, the book is uneven. Parts of the
book are technical, other parts simplistic;
some parts are current and others outdated. Often a section concludes with a
general statement that is incompletely
supported by the content of that section.
458
BOOK REVIEWS
Several photographs add little to the text
and could have been omitted with no loss
of information.
The treatment of human variation (or
the concept of race as the authors refer
to it) in Chapter 3 “His Many Kinds” is
confusing and outdated in that it does
not present human differences as resulting from different evolutionary histories.
Instead it presents the 19th century classification of human types based on physical appearance but with jazzed-up
names: Europiforms, Negriforms, Mongoliforms, Khosianiforms and Australiforms. The authors allude to a more
recent approach by discussing briefly
the disadvantages of classifying man by
gross physical features and by mentioning blood groups as a source of information on human differences. But this
information is not presented as a qualitatively new approach for understanding
human populations, but rather as glorified taxonomic tool.
Errors of omission exist throughout the
book, so that the total picture presented
in a particular chapter is inaccurate.
Chapter 2, “His Place in Nature,” is one
such chapter. Here, the Pleistocene is
listed as a million years in duration, even
though several years ago potassiumlargon
dates showed that this time period is two
or more million years long. The authors
apparently missed this extended time for
the Pleistocene and its implications for
hominid evolution. Their statement that
the australopithecines lived too late to
have been man’s ancestors is indicative
of this oversight. Other comments, such
as their use of “Pithecanthropus,” collectively imply that the book is not in
touch with developments in primate and
human evolution during the last decade.
The book is somewhat of a potpourri,
as illustrated by Chapter 10, “His Sexual
Behavior.” The chapter contains a collection of statements on anatomical and
behavioral aspects of human sexuality,
monkey coitus, the role of bird displays
in reproduction, and how human children
learn sexual behavior. While it is important to see man in perspective, comparisons between man and animals cannot
be made as facilely as the book makes
them without being misleading. Interestingly, although Masters and Johnson is
included as a reference for this chapter,
in the discussion of coitus the authors
state that a woman’s orgasm is “mostly
psychogenic,” a contradiction to this
reference.
Little distinction is made between cultural practices and the purely biological
phenomena
that
together
influence
man’s biology: the authors use the concepts interchangeably. For example,
Chapter 11, “Man’s Reproductive Patterns,” lists five factors that have contributed to man’s recent population expansion. Although reproductive rate is a
biological concept, the five contributions
listed are cultural factors, (i.e., increased
infant survival, lower mortality of pregnant women, decrease of disease, famine,
poverty, etc.). The authors not only fail
to distinguish between biology and culture, but fail to discuss how these two
concepts are interrelated. This interrelationship could have been well illustrated
if the authors had shown how the contraceptive pill and interuterine devices
act as cultural controls for a biological
phenomenon.
In general, the book has shown that
the subject of human biology has many
interesting facets. However, it appears to
have been too hastily written, covering
too much material too briefly. The naive
reader will gain little appreciation for
man as a product of evolutionary
processes.
ADRIENNE ~ I H L M A N
Universzty of California
Santa Cruz
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figuren, harrison, 1969, richards, man, century, new, 387, york, william, montagna, appleton, croft
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