The contributor’s primary goal in organizing this book was to initiate a synthesis of thought on how genetics structures the behavior of individual animals that live within complex social systems. To do this they have brought together leading theorists and empiricists who apply genetics to the study of eusocial insect evolution.
The contributor's primary goal in organizing this book was to initiate a synthesis of thought on how genetics structures the behavior of individual animals that live within complex social systems. To do this they have brought together leading theorists and empiricists who apply genetics to the study of eusocial insect evolution.
Why is `blood thicker than water'? Are we innately violent or pacific? What is the best sex ratio? Why are plants and animals sexual? Why do we grow old and die? Over what do our chromosomes quarrel? Such questions have motivated the life-work of W. D. Hamilton, widely acknowledged as the most important theoretical biologist of the 20th century. His papers continue to exert an enormous influence and they are now being republished for the first time. Each one is introduced by an autobiographical essay written especially for this collection. This first volume contains all of Hamilton's publications prior to 1981, a set especially relevant to social behaviour, kinship theory, sociobiology, and the notion of `selfish genes'. It includes several of the most read and famous papers of modern biology. A forthcoming volume will be devoted to the second half of Hamilton's life's work, on sex and sexual selection. Narrow Roads of Gene Land will be welcomed by professionals, graduate students, and undergraduates from a variety of disciplines, including evolution, population genetics, animal behaviour, genetics, anthropology, and ecology. The essays are accessible to non-specialists and will fascinate and entertain general readers with an interest in evolution and behaviour.
The Genetics of Altruism covers the primary findings on social evolution, social trait, and altruism from a population genetics standpoint to establish a system of genetic boxes. It presents an evolutionary question with two faces: Why are there so many social species? Why, in all the diversity of the animal kingdom, are the social species so few? To address the evolutionary question, this book focuses on recognition of the fact that on an evolutionary time, scale genetics must underlie all changes in the capacity for social structure and other aspects of organic evolution. It presents comparative analyses framed in mathematical terms; mathematical concepts as a means of getting outside human, perhaps more generally primate and carnivore; frames of reference; and alternative network combinatorics as a natural basis for comparing social structures that are phylogenetically remote. It also discusses the comparative biology of social behavior on a purely descriptive basis through the social and evolutionary structures emergent. The book concludes by discussing major evolutionary pathways, various kinds of preadaptedness for sociality, and the use of cascade principle to suggest ways in which human evolution may have been a special case. This book is a valuable resource for biologists, social scientists, researchers, students, and all those who want to broaden their knowledge in the field of social behavior and altruism.
Over the last several decades, mathematical models have become central to the study of social evolution, both in biology and the social sciences. But students in these disciplines often seriously lack the tools to understand them. A primer on behavioral modeling that includes both mathematics and evolutionary theory, Mathematical Models of Social Evolution aims to make the student and professional researcher in biology and the social sciences fully conversant in the language of the field. Teaching biological concepts from which models can be developed, Richard McElreath and Robert Boyd introduce readers to many of the typical mathematical tools that are used to analyze evolutionary models and end each chapter with a set of problems that draw upon these techniques. Mathematical Models of Social Evolution equips behaviorists and evolutionary biologists with the mathematical knowledge to truly understand the models on which their research depends. Ultimately, McElreath and Boyd’s goal is to impart the fundamental concepts that underlie modern biological understandings of the evolution of behavior so that readers will be able to more fully appreciate journal articles and scientific literature, and start building models of their own.
This book sheds new light on the problem of how the human mind evolved. Harry Smit argues that current studies of this problem misguidedly try to solve it by using variants of the Cartesian conception of the mind, and shows that combining the Aristotelian conception with Darwin's theory provides us with far more interesting answers. He discusses the core problem of how we can understand language evolution in terms of inclusive fitness theory, and investigates how scientific and conceptual insights can be integrated into one explanatory framework, which he contrasts with the alternative Cartesian-derived framework. He then explores the differences between these explanatory frameworks with reference to co-operation and conflict at different levels of biological organization, the evolution of communicative behaviour, the human mind, language, and moral behaviour. His book will interest advanced students and scholars in a range of subjects including philosophy, biology and psychology.
This book is about the genetics and behaviour of individuals within colonies of social insects - bees, wasps, ants, and termites. Colonial living is characterized by division of labour and finely coordinated organization, by reproductive function being limited to certain individuals, by cooperative brood care, and by the presence of non-reproductive workers. Within a colony, however, many events are the result of conflicts between individuals seeking to maximize their own interests. Ever since Darwin, this interplay of cooperation and conflict has raised many important questions in evolutionary biology, especially about how cooperative behaviour is maintained in the absence of direct reproduction by workers. How is the heritable component of this behaviour passed on? Crozier and Pamilo's contribution is to analyse the genetic basis of the patterns of reproduction and resource allocation found in social insect colonies. This is done more comprehensively and with greater depth and insight than in any previous study, and is a significant step forward in the fields of population genetics and social evolution.
Provides a broad snapshot of recent findings showing how the environment and genes influence behavior The great debate of nature versus nurture rages on — but our understanding of the genetic basis of many behaviors has expanded over the last decade, and there is now very good evidence showing that seemingly complex behaviours can have relatively simple genetic underpinnings, but also that most behaviours have very complicated genetic and environmental architecture. Studies have also clearly shown that behaviors, and other traits, are influenced not just by genes and the environment, but also by the statistical interaction between the two. This book aims to end the nature versus nurture argument by showing that behaviors are nature and nurture and the interaction between the two, and by illustrating how single genes can explain some of the variation in behaviors even when they are seemingly complex. Genes and Behaviour: Beyond Nature-Nurture puts to rest the nature versus nurture dichotomy, providing an up-to-date synopsis of where we are, how far we've come and where we are headed. It considers the effects of a dual-inheritance of genes and culture, and genes and social environment, and highlights how indirect genetic effects can affect the evolution of behavior. It also examines the effect of non-self genes on the behavior of hosts, shines a light on the nature and nurturing of animal minds and invites us to embrace all the complexity nature and nurture generates, and more. Explores exciting new findings about behavior and where we go from here Features contributions by top scholars of the subject Seeks to end the nature versus nurture debate forever Genes and Behaviour: Beyond Nature-Nurture is a unique, and eye-opening read that will appeal to Ph.D. Students, post-doctoral fellows, and researchers in evolution and behavior. Additionally, the book will also be of interest to geneticists, sociologists and philosophers.
Social behavior has long puzzled evolutionary biologists, since the classical theory of natural selection maintains that individuals should not sacrifice their own fitness to affect that of others. Social Evolution and Inclusive Fitness Theory argues that a theory first presented in 1963 by William D. Hamilton—inclusive fitness theory—provides the most fundamental and general explanation for the evolution and maintenance of social behavior in the natural world. James Marshall guides readers through the vast and confusing literature on the evolution of social behavior, introducing and explaining the competing theories that claim to provide answers to questions such as why animals evolve to behave altruistically. Using simple statistical language and techniques that practicing biologists will be familiar with, he provides a comprehensive yet easily understandable treatment of key concepts and their repeated misinterpretations. Particular attention is paid to how more realistic features of behavior, such as nonadditivity and conditionality, can complicate analysis. Marshall highlights the general problem of identifying the underlying causes of evolutionary change, and proposes fruitful approaches to doing so in the study of social evolution. Social Evolution and Inclusive Fitness Theory describes how inclusive fitness theory addresses both simple and complex social scenarios, the controversies surrounding the theory, and how experimental work supports the theory as the most powerful explanation for social behavior and its evolution.
Evolution, biology, and society is a catch-all phrase encompassing any scholarly work that utilizes evolutionary theory and/or biological or behavioral genetic methods in the study of the human social group, and The Oxford Handbook of Evolution, Biology, and Society contains an much needed overview of research in the area by sociologists and other social scientists. The examined topics cover a wide variety of issues, including the origins of social solidarity; religious beliefs; sex differences; gender inequality; determinants of human happiness; the nature of social stratification and inequality and its effects; identity, status, and other group processes; race, ethnicity, and race discrimination; fertility and family processes; crime and deviance; and cultural and social change. The scholars whose work is presented in this volume come from a variety of disciplines in addition to sociology, including psychology, political science, and criminology. Yet, as the essays in this volume demonstrate, the potential of theory and methods from biology for illuminating social phenomena is clear, and sociologists stand to gain from learning more about them and using them in their own work. The theory focuses on evolution by natural selection, the primary paradigm of the biological sciences, while the methods include the statistical analyses sociologists are familiar with, as well as other methods that they may not be familiar with, such as behavioral genetic methods, methods for including genetic factors in statistical analyses, gene-wide association studies, candidate gene studies, and methods for testing levels of hormones and other biochemicals in blood and saliva and including these factors in analyses. This work will be of interest to any sociologist with an interest in exploring the interaction of biological and sociological processes. As an introduction to the field it is useful for teaching upper-level or graduate students in sociology or a related social science.
The time is ripe to investigate similarities and differences in the course of social evolution in different animals. This book brings together renowned researchers working on sociality in different animals to deal with the key questions of sociobiology. For the first time, they compile the evidence for the importance of ecological factors in the evolution of social life, ranging from invertebrate to vertebrate social systems, and evaluate its importance versus that of relatedness.
Richard D. Alexander is an accomplished entomologist who turned his attention to solving some of the most perplexing problems associated with the evolution of human social systems. Using impeccable Darwinian logic and elaborating, extending and adding to the classic theoretical contributions of pioneers of behavioral and evolutionary ecology like George Williams, William Hamilton and Robert Trivers, Alexander developed the most detailed and comprehensive vision of human social evolution of his era. His ideas and hypotheses have inspired countless biologists, anthropologists, psychologists and other social scientists to explore the evolution of human social behavior in ever greater detail, and many of his seminal ideas have stood the test of time and come to be pillars of our understanding of human social evolution. This volume presents classic papers or chapters by Dr. Alexander, each focused on an important theme from his work. Introductions by Dr. Alexander's former students and colleagues highlight the importance of his work to the field, describe more recent work on the topic, and discuss current issues of contention and interest.
They mastermind our lives, shaping our features, our health, and our behavior, even in the sacrosanct realms of love and sex, religion, aging, and death. Yet we are the ones who house, perpetuate, and give the promise of immortality to these biological agents, our genetic gods. The link between genes and gods is hardly arbitrary, as the distinguished evolutionary geneticist John Avise reveals in this compelling book. In clear, straightforward terms, Avise reviews recent discoveries in molecular biology, evolutionary genetics, and human genetic engineering, and discusses the relevance of these findings to issues of ultimate concern traditionally reserved for mythology, theology, and religious faith. The book explains how the genetic gods figure in our development--not just our metabolism and physiology, but even our emotional disposition, personality, ethical leanings, and, indeed, religiosity. Yet genes are physical rather than metaphysical entities. Having arisen via an amoral evolutionary process--natural selection--genes have no consciousness, no sentient code of conduct, no reflective concern about the consequences of their actions. It is Avise's contention that current genetic knowledge can inform our attempts to answer typically religious questions--about origins, fate, and meaning. The Genetic Gods challenges us to make the necessary connection between what we know, what we believe, and what we embody. Table of Contents: Preface Prologue 1. The Doctrines of Biological Science 2. Geneses 3. Genetic Maladies 4. Genetic Beneficence 5. Strategies of the Genes 6. Genetic Sovereignty 7. New Lords of Our Genes? 8. Meaning Epilogue Notes Glossary Index Reviews of this book: Our genes, [Avise] says, are responsible not only for how we got here and exist day to day, but also for the core of our being--our personalities and morals. It is our genetic make-up that allows for and formulates our religious belief systems, he argues. Avise does not eschew spirituality but seeks a more informed, less confrontational approach between science and the pulpit. --Science News Reviews of this book: For the general scientific reader, the book is an excellent distillation of a broad and increasingly important field, a course of causation that cannot be ignored. From advising expectant parents to getting innocent people off death row, genetics increasingly dominates our lives. The sections on genetics are expertly written, particularly for those readers without in-depth knowledge. The author explains slowly and carefully just how genetics operates, using multiple metaphors. His genetic discourse proceeds in a neighborly fashion, as one might tell stories while sitting in a rocking chair at a country store. He seems to be invigorated by genes and just can't wait to tell about them. --David W. Hodo, Journal of the American Medical Association Reviews of this book: As a whole, this book is quite informative and stimulating, and sections of it are beautifully written. Indeed, Professor Avise has a real gift for prose and scientific expositions, and I would suspect that he must be a formidable lecturer...At its core, [The Genetic Gods] is a survey, and a very nice one at that, of evolutionary genetics, the field of the author's major research interests. There is a strong sociobiological cast to the arguments, and the work and ideas of E. O. Wilson figure prominently. The presentation of evolutionary genetics is imbedded in a more general discussion of modern human and molecular genetics...However, this book is, most of all, a philosophical treatise that attempts, admittedly with the bias of a biologist, to examine the intersection of the fundamental premises of evolution and religion. Professor Avise has given us plenty to think about in this book [and]...it was a real pleasure to wrestle with the ideas he was presenting. I would suggest that other readers give it a try. --Charles J. Epstein, Trends in Genetics Reviews of this book: [Avise's] account of the role genes play in shaping the human condition is wholly involving, paying particular attention to issues of reproduction, aging and death. In addition to presenting ample biological information in a form accessible to the nonspecialist, Avise does a superb job of discussing many of the ethical implications that have arisen from our growing knowledge of human genetics. Just a few of the topics covered are genetic engineering, the patenting of life, genetic screening, abortion, human cloning, gene therapy and insurance-related controversies. --Publishers Weekly Reviews of this book: Avise explains thoroughly how evolution operates on a genetic level. His goal is to show that humans can look to this information as a way to answer fundamental questions of life instead of looking to traditional religious beliefs...Avise includes some very interesting discussions of ethical concerns related to genetic issues. --Eric D. Albright, Library Journal This is a splendid account of a subject that affects us all: the breathtaking increase in understanding of human genetics and the insight it provides into human evolution. John Avise speaks with authority of molecular evolutionary genetics and with affecting compassion of what it might mean. --Douglas J. Futuyma, State University of New York at Stony Brook The Genetic Gods is many things. It is a wonderful introduction to modern molecular biology, by a man who knows his subject backwards. It is a stimulating account of the ways in which genetics impinges on human nature--our thinking and our behavior. It is a remarkably level-headed and sympathetic account of the implications of our new findings for traditional and not-so-traditional issues in philosophy and religion. In an age of genetic counseling, cloning, construction of new life forms, the book is worth its weight in gold for this alone. But most of all, it is a huge amount of fun to read--you want to applaud or argue with the author on nigh every page. Highly recommended! --Michael Ruse, University of Guelph The Genetic Gods makes a valuable contribution to the on-going task of sorting out the implications of evolutionary biology and genetics for human self-understanding. Avise addresses, with authority and grace, the most consequential intellectual issues of our time. A challenging and insightful book. --Loyal Rue, Harvard University A wonderfully informative and engaging book. Avise offers a lucid, accessible primer on our genes, angelic and demonic, and examines religious and ethical issues, all too human, now confronted by genetic science. He makes a compelling case that anyone seeking to 'Know Thyself' should study the DNA molecular scriptures, our most ancient and universal legacy. --Dudley Herschbach, Harvard University, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
Why do we behave so differently in different situations? Why did you choose the clothes you are wearing, the books you read and the friends and opinions you have? What is it about humans that has let us achieve so much, so quickly? This book tries to understand why the evolution of our human species is happening at a rate so much faster than may be explained by Darwinian biological evolution alone. The engine of our extraordinary social evolution is human behaviour. We have a deep-seated need to pass on to others some part of our own achievements, what we have made of our lives. Our survival and success now depends principally on our adaption to our social environment and not to our physical environment. It is these supercharged social genes that are the essence of our remarkable and accelerating rate of evolution today. This book looks critically at our present understanding of human behaviour and evolution to seek a consilience across a wide range of fields of research. More at www.supergenes.net
Biologists since Darwin have been intrigued and confounded by the complex issues involved in the evolution and ecology of the social behavior of insects. The self-sacrifice of sterile workers in ant colonies has been particularly difficult for evolutionary biologists to explain. In this important new book, Andrew Bourke and Nigel Franks not only present a detailed overview of the current state of scientific knowledge about social evolution in ants, but also show how studies on ants have contributed to an understanding of many fundamental topics in behavioral ecology and evolutionary biology. One of the substantial contributions of Social Evolution in Ants is its clear explanation of kin selection theory and sex ratio theory and their applications to social evolution in insects. Working to dispel lingering skepticism about the validity of kin selection and, more broadly, of "selfish gene" theory, Bourke and Franks show how these ideas underpin the evolution of both cooperation and conflict within ant societies. In addition, using simple algebra, they provide detailed explanations of key mathematical models. Finally, the authors discuss two relatively little-known topics in ant social biology: life history strategy and mating systems. This comprehensive, up-to-date, and well-referenced work will appeal to all researchers in social insect biology and to scholars and students in the fields of entomology, behavioral ecology, and evolution.