Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition
Edward O. Wilson
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Harvard University Press is proud to announce the re-release of the complete original version of Sociobiology: The New Synthesis--now available in paperback for the first time. When this classic work was first published in 1975, it created a new discipline and started a tumultuous round in the age-old nature versus nurture debate. Although voted by officers and fellows of the international Animal Behavior Society the most important book on animal behavior of all time, Sociobiology is probably more widely known as the object of bitter attacks by social scientists and other scholars who opposed its claim that human social behavior, indeed human nature, has a biological foundation. The controversy surrounding the publication of the book reverberates to the present day.
In the introduction to this Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition, Edward O. Wilson shows how research in human genetics and neuroscience has strengthened the case for a biological understanding of human nature. Human sociobiology, now often called evolutionary psychology, has in the last quarter of a century emerged as its own field of study, drawing on theory and data from both biology and the social sciences.
For its still fresh and beautifully illustrated descriptions of animal societies, and its importance as a crucial step forward in the understanding of human beings, this anniversary edition of Sociobiology: The New Synthesis will be welcomed by a new generation of students and scholars in all branches of learning.
away from the territories. The oilbirds (Steatornis caripensis) of South America nest on ledges in caves. Couples form permanent pair bonds and defend the scarce small spaces suitable for building nests. However, in the evening all flock together in feeding groups that search for the scattered oil palms and other fruit-bearing trees on which the species depends (Snow, 1961). Such patterns are in fact commonplace among colonially nesting birds, including many seabirds. They show that evolution can
they tend to settle in the neighborhood of the nest in which they were born the previous summer. Groups of these wasps, many of whom are sisters, commonly cooperate in founding a new nest, with one assuming the dominant, egg-laying role and the others turning into functional workers. This voluntary subordination is not easy to explain, for even if the associated females were full sisters, the subordinate female would be taking care of nieces with a coefficient of relationship of ⅜, whereas she
not been definitely implicated in any important communication system. Many species, however, are extremely sensitive to sound carried by the substrate, but they evidently employ it only in limited fashion, chiefly during aggressive encounters and alarm signaling. Modulated sound signals appear to play a role in recruitment in the advanced stingless bees of the genus Melipona and in the honeybees, which have incorporated them into the waggle dance. Touch is universally employed by insect colonies,
50,000 estimated living species, or perhaps 6 percent of the total number of insect species in the world. This overwhelming phylogenetic bias is the most important clue we have to go on in searching for the prime movers of higher social evolution. The tendency of aculeate Hymenoptera to evolve eusocial species can probably be ascribed in part to their mandibulate (chewing) mouthparts, which lend themselves so well to the manipulation of objects, or to the penchant of aculeate females for
Tierpsychologie, 25(1): 76–88. —— 1972. Social behaviour of African Equidae. Zoologica Africana, 7: 175–186. Klopfer, P. H. 1957. An experiment on empathic learning in ducks. American Naturalist, 91(856): 61–63. —— 1961. Observational learning in birds: the establishment of behavioral modes. Behaviour, 17(1): 71–80. —— 1970. Sensory physiology and esthetics. American Scientist, 58(4): 399–403. —— 1972. Patterns of maternal care in lemurs: II, effects of group size and early separation.