Darwin’s concept of natural selection has been exhaustively studied, but his secondary evolutionary principle of sexual selection remains largely unexplored and misunderstood. Yet sexual selection was of great strategic importance to Darwin because it explained things that natural selection could not and offered a naturalistic, as opposed to divine, account of beauty and its perception. Only now, with Darwin and the Making of Sexual Selection, do we have a comprehensive and meticulously researched account of Darwin’s path to its formulation—one that shows the man, rather than the myth, and examines both the social and intellectual roots of Darwin’s theory. Drawing on the minutiae of his unpublished notes, annotations in his personal library, and his extensive correspondence, Evelleen Richards offers a richly detailed, multilayered history. Her fine-grained analysis comprehends the extraordinarily wide range of Darwin’s sources and disentangles the complexity of theory, practice, and analogy that went into the making of sexual selection. Richards deftly explores the narrative strands of this history and vividly brings to life the chief characters involved. A true milestone in the history of science, Darwin and the Making of Sexual Selection illuminates the social and cultural contingencies of the shaping of an important—if controversial—biological concept that is back in play in current evolutionary theory.
Published on the anniversary of the great naturalist's 200th birthday, these excerpts from Darwin's landmark work build on the evolutionary concepts introduced in On the Origin of Species. Based upon the original edition, this abridgement by a noted Darwinian scholar offers a highly readable version of an important book.
Written over several decades and collected together for the first time, these richly detailed contextual studies by a leading historian of science examine the diverse ways in which cultural values and political and professional considerations impinged upon the construction, acceptance and applications of nineteenth century evolutionary theory. They include a number of interrelated analyses of the highly politicised roles of embryos and monsters in pre- and post- Darwinian evolutionary theorizing, including Darwin’s; several studies of the intersection of Darwinian science and its practitioners with issues of gender, race and sexuality, featuring a pioneering contextual analysis of Darwin’s theory of sexual selection; and explorations of responses to Darwinian science by notable Victorian women intellectuals, including the crusading anti-feminist and ardent Darwinian, Eliza Lynn Linton, the feminist and leading anti-vivisectionist Frances Power Cobbe, and Annie Besant, the bible-bashing, birth-control advocate who confronted Darwin’s opposition to contraception at the notorious Knowlton Trial.
Adam Wilkins draws on studies of nonhuman species, the fossil record, genetics, and molecular and developmental biology to reconstruct the evolution of the human face and its inextricable link to our species’ evolving social complexity. The neural and muscular mechanisms that allowed facial expressions also led to speech, which is unique to humans.
A noteworthy investigation of the Darwinian element in American fiction from the realist through the Freudian eras. theories of sexual selection and of the emotions are essential elements in American fiction from the late 1800s through the 1950s, particularly during the Freudian era and the years surrounding the Scopes trial. the Sex Problem, and what resulted was a great diversity of American narratives aligned with either Darwinian or a number of anti-Darwinian theories of evolution. Included are intriguing discussions of works by Frank Norris, Jack London, Stephen Crane, Theodore Dreiser, Gertrude Stein, Willa Cather, Sherwood Anderson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, five writers of the Harlem Renaissance, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway. Among the ideas explored are Darwin's theory of common descent; the question of man's place in nature; the possibility of evolutionary progress; the issues of heredity and eugenics; the Darwinian basis of Freud's theory of sexual repression; the quandary of male violence and the role of female choice in sexual selection; the power of and the problems o rracial and sexual selection; the power of and the problems of racial and sexual difference; and the ecological problems that arose directly from Darwin's theory of evolution. America's major narratives of human life and love and will be appreciated by literary scholars and readers interested in Darwinism and culture.
Bright colors, enlarged fins, feather plumes, song, horns, antlers, and tusks are often highly sex dimorphic. Why have males in many animals evolved more conspicuous ornaments, signals, and weapons than females? How can such traits evolve although they may reduce male survival? Such questions prompted Darwin's perhaps most scientifically controversial idea--the theory of sexual selection. It still challenges researchers today as they try to understand how competition for mates can favor the variety of sex-dimorphic traits. Reviewing theoretical and empirical work in this very active field, Malte Andersson, a leading contributor himself, provides a major up-to-date synthesis of sexual selection. The author describes the theory and its recent development; examines models, methods, and empirical tests; and identifies many unsolved problems. Among the topics discussed are the selection and evolution of mating preferences; relations between sexual selection and speciation; constraints on sexual selection; and sex differences in signals, body size, and weapons. The rapidly growing study of sexual selection in plants is also reviewed. This volume will interest students, teachers, and researchers in behavioral ecology and evolutionary biology.
The relations between behavior, evolution, and culture have been a subject of vigorous debate since the publication of Darwin's The Descent of Man (1871). The latest volume of Perspectives in Ethology brings anthropologists, ethologists, psychologists, and evolutionary theorists together to reexamine this important relation. With two exceptions (the essays by Brown and Eldredge), all of the present essays were originally presented at the Fifth Biannual Symposium on the Science of Behavior held in Guadalajara, Mexico, in February 1998. The volume opens with the problem of the origins of culture, tackled from two different viewpoints by Richerson and Boyd, and Lancaster, Kaplan, Hill, and Hurtado, respectively. Richerson and Boyd analyze the possible relations between climatic change in the Pleistocene and the evo lution of social learning, evaluating the boundary conditions under which social learning could increase fitness and contribute to culture. Lancaster, Kaplan, Hill, and Hurtado examine how a shift in the diet of the genus Homo toward difficult-to-acquire food could have determined (or coe volved with) unique features of the human life cycle. These two essays illus trate how techniques that range from computer modeling to comparative behavioral analysis, and that make use of a wide range of data, can be used for drawing inferences about past selection pressures. As culture evolves, it must somehow find its place within (and also affect) a complex hierarchy of behavioral and biological factors.
This collection is an interdisciplinary edited volume that examines the circulation of Darwinian ideas in the Atlantic space as they impacted systems of Western thought and culture. Specifically, the book explores the influence of the principle tenets of Darwinism -- such as the theory of evolution, the ape-man theory of human origins, and the principle of sexual selection -- on established transatlantic intellectual traditions and cultural practices. In doing so, it pays particular attention to how Darwinism reconfigured discourses on race, gender, and sexuality in a transnational context. Covering the period from the publication of The Origin of Species (1859) to 1933, when the Nazis (National Socialist Party) took power in Germany, the essays demonstrate the dissemination of Darwinian thought in the Western world in an unprecedented commerce of ideas not seen since the Protestant Reformation. Learned societies, literary groups, lyceums, and churches among other sites for public discourse sponsored lectures on the implications of Darwin’s theory of evolution for understanding the very ontological codes by which individuals ordered and made sense of their lives. Collectively, these gatherings reflected and constituted what the contributing scholars to this volume view as the discursive power of the cultural politics of Darwinism.
Just over one hundred and thirty years ago Charles Darwin, in The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871), developed remarkably accurate conclusions about man's ancestry, based on a review of general comparative anatomy and psychology in which he regarded sexual selection as a necessary part of the evolutionary process. But the attention of biologists turned to the more general concept of natural selection, in which sexual selection plays a complex role that has been little understood. This volume significantly broadens the scope of modern evolutionary biology by looking at this important and long neglected concept of great importance. In this book, which is the first full discussion of sexual selection since 1871, leading biologists bring modern genetic theory and behavior observation to bear on the subject. The distinguished authors consider many aspects of sexual selection in many species, including man, within the context of contemporary evolutionary theory and research. The result is a remarkably original and well-rounded view of the whole concept that will be invaluable especially to students of evolution and human sexual behavior. The lucid authority of the contributors and the importance of the topic will interest all who share in man's perennial fascination with his own history. The book will be of central importance to a wide variety of professionals, including biologists, anthropologists, and geneticists. It will be an invaluable supplementary text for courses in vertebrate biology, theory of evolution, genetics, and physical anthropology. It is especially important with the emergence of alternative explanations of human development, under the rubric of creationism and doctrines of intelligent design. Bernard G. Campbell is professor of anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Born in Weybridge, England, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 1957, and has been a lecturer in anthropology at Cambridge and Harvard Universities. Among his many contributions to the field of anthropology is Human Evolution: An Introduction to Man's Adaptations.
This root-and-branch re-evaluation of Darwin’s concept of sexual selection tackles the subject from historical, epistemological and theoretical perspectives. Contributions from a wealth of disciplines have been marshaled for this volume, with key figures in behavioural ecology, philosophy, and the history of science adding to its wide-ranging relevance. Updating the reader on the debate currently live in behavioural ecology itself on the centrality of sexual selection, and with coverage of developments in the field of animal aesthetics, the book details the current state of play, while other chapters trace the history of sexual selection from Darwin to today and inquire into the neurobiological bases for partner choices and the comparisons between the hedonic brain in human and non-human animals. Welcome space is given to the social aspects of sexual selection, particularly where Darwin drew distinctions between eager males and coy females and rationalized this as evolutionary strategy. Also explored are the current definition of sexual selection (as opposed to natural selection) and its importance in today’s biological research, and the impending critique of the theory from the nascent field of animal aesthetics. As a comprehensive assessment of the current health, or otherwise, of Darwin’s theory, 140 years after the publication of his Descent of Man, the book offers a uniquely rounded view that asks whether ‘sexual selection’ is in itself a progressive or reactionary notion, even as it explores its theoretical relevance in the technical biological study of the twenty-first century.
For evolutionary biologists, the concept of chance has always played a significant role in the formation of evolutionary theory. As far back as Greek antiquity, chance and "luck" were key factors in understanding the natural world. Chance is not just an important concept; it is an entire way of thinking about nature. And as Curtis Johnson shows, it is also one of the key ideas that separates Charles Darwin from other systematic biologists of his time. Studying the concept of chance in Darwin's writing reveals core ideas in his theory of evolution, as well as his reflections on design, purpose, and randomness in nature's progression over the course of history. In Darwin's Dice: The Idea of Chance in the Thought of Charles Darwin, Curtis Johnson examines Darwin's early notebooks, his collected correspondence (now in 19 volumes), and most of his published writing to trace the evolution of his ideas about chance in evolution. This proved to be one of Darwin's most controversial ideas among his reading public, so much so that it drew hostile reactions even from Darwin's scientific friends, not to mention the more general reader. The firestorm of criticism forced Darwin to forge a retreat, not in terms of removing chance from his theory--his commitment to it was unshakable--but in terms of how he chose to present his theory. Briefly, by changing his wording and by introducing metaphors and images (the stone-house metaphor, the evolution of giraffes, and others), Darwin succeeded in making his ideas seem less threatening than before without actually changing his views. Randomness remained a focal point for Darwin throughout his life. Through the lens of randomness, Johnson reveals implications of Darwin's views for religion, free will, and moral theory. Darwin's Dice presents a new way to look at Darwinist thought and the writings of Charles Darwin.
Beyond his pivotal place in the history of scientific thought, Charles Darwin's writings and his theory of evolution by natural selection have also had a profound impact on art and culture and continue to do so to this day. The Literary and Cultural Reception of Charles Darwin in Europe is a comprehensive survey of this enduring cultural impact throughout the continent. With chapters written by leading international scholars that explore how literary writers and popular culture responded to Darwin's thought, the book also includes an extensive timeline of his cultural reception in Europe and bibliographies of major translations in each country.
In Becoming Undone, Elizabeth Grosz addresses three related concepts—life, politics, and art—by exploring the implications of Charles Darwin’s account of the evolution of species. Challenging characterizations of Darwin’s work as a form of genetic determinism, Grosz shows that his writing reveals an insistence on the difference between natural selection and sexual selection, the principles that regulate survival and attractiveness, respectively. Sexual selection complicates natural selection by introducing aesthetic factors and the expression of individual will, desire, or pleasure. Grosz explores how Darwin’s theory of sexual selection transforms philosophy, our understanding of humanity in its male and female forms, our ideas of political relations, and our concepts of art. Connecting the naturalist’s work to the writings of Bergson, Deleuze, and Irigaray, she outlines a postmodern Darwinism that understands all of life as forms of competing and coordinating modes of openness. Although feminists have been suspicious of the concepts of nature and biology central to Darwin’s work, Grosz proposes that his writings are a rich resource for developing a more politicized, radical, and far-reaching feminist understanding of matter, nature, biology, time, and becoming.
Sexual Selection and Reproductive Competition in Insects explores the biological mechanisms underlying intrasexual reproductive competition as a driving force in sexual selection in insects. The book contains papers presented at a symposium on reproductive behavior in insects, held at the 15th International Congress of Entomology in Washington, D.C., in 1976. Organized into 13 chapters, this volume begins with a historical background on sexual selection theory and some of the principal conceptual advances that have been made since Charles Darwin (1871) posited that a sexual character was a characteristic possessed by only one sex and not the other. It then introduces the reader to differences in patterns of sexual selection and how they affect the reproductive success of individuals, male-female mating relationships, and mate choice by females. The book also discusses the evolution of mating strategies in insects, touching on concepts such as parental investment, female choice, and sexual conflict. Later chapters focus on winglessness, fighting, and dimorphism in male fig wasps and other insects, along with agonistic behavior among males of Achias australis, the function of horns in beetles, and the evolution of alternative male reproductive strategies in field crickets. The book also looks into the courtship and mating behavior of insects, and then concludes with an analysis of insect life histories in order to elucidate the biological aspects of the male-female phenomenon. This book is an essential reading for biologists and chemists.