Animal Traditions: Behavioural Inheritance in Evolution

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Animal Traditions maintains that the assumption that the selection of genes supplies both a sufficient explanation of the evolution of behaviour and a true description of its course is, despite its almost universal acclaim, wrong. Eytan Avital and Eya Jablonka contend that evolutionary explanations must take into account the well-established fact that, in mammals and birds, the transfer of learnt information across generations is both ubiquitous and indispensable. The introduction of the behavioural inheritance system into the Darwinian explanatory scheme enables the authors to offer new interpretations for common behaviours such as maternal behaviours, behavioural conflicts within families, adoption and helping. This approach offers a richer view of heredity and evolution, integrates developmental and evolutionary processes, suggests new lines for research and provides a constructive alternative to both the selfish gene and meme views of the world. It will make stimulating reading for all those interested in evolutionary biology, sociobiology, behavioural ecology and psychology.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Animal Traditions provides a well-written, handsomely bound, multiply indexed, though idiosyncratic, introduction to behavioural ecology...They provide a wealth of references to material consistent with their view." Ethology 2001

"...Animal Traditions is an important book, for it shows that there are more possible (and plausible) explanations for the evolution of animal behaviours than people with a gene-centric view of inheritance are able to consider. So every person interested in evolutionary biology and psychology should read it." Biology and Philosophy

"full of natural history that is fun and interesting to read." SCIENCE July 2001

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521022118
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/3/2005
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Table of Contents

1 New rules for old games 1
2 What is pulling the strings of behaviour? 34
3 Learning and the behavioural inheritance system 63
4 Parental care - the highroad to family traditions 105
5 Achieving harmony between mates - the learning route 141
6 Parents and offspring - too much conflict? 171
7 Alloparental care - an additional channel of information transfer 208
8 The origins and persistence of group legacies 243
9 Darwin meets Lamarck - the co-evolution of genes and learning 304
10 The free phenotype 352
References 371
Index of spectes 404
Index of subjects 412
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