More than Kin and Less than Kind: The Evolution of Family Conflict

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Cambridge, MA 2004 Hard Cover First Edition Very Good in Good jacket Mylared. 8vo-over 7?"-9?" tall. 267pp. Index. Original green boards with tan cloth spine. Pages are clean ... (unmarked) and crisp. Binding is tight and secure. Boards have light rubbing to corners. Unclipped pictorial DJ has some scuffing, a few small bumps to edges, rubbing to extremities. Looks nice in added protective mylar coevring. Nice copy. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Sibling rivalry and intergenerational conflict are not limited to human beings. Among seals and piglets, storks and burying beetles, in bird nests and beehives, from apples to humans, family conflicts can be deadly serious, determining who will survive and who will perish. When offspring compete for scarce resources, sibling rivalry kicks in automatically. Parents sometime play favorites or even kill their young. In More Than Kin and Less Than Kind, Douglas Mock tells us what scientists have discovered about this disturbing side of family dynamics in the natural world.

Natural selection operates primarily for the benefit of individuals (and their genes). Thus a family member may profit directly, by producing its own offspring, or indirectly, by helping close kin to reproduce. Much of the biology of family behavior rests on a simple mathematical relationship called Hamilton's rule, which links the benefits and costs of seemingly altruistic or selfish behavior to the degree of relatedness between individuals.

Blending natural history and theoretical biology, Mock shows how Hamilton's rule illuminates the study of family strife by throwing a spotlight on the two powerful forces—cooperation and competition—that shape all interaction in the family arena. In More Than Kin and Less Than Kind, he offers a rare perspective on the family as testing ground for the evolutionary limits of selfishness. When budgets are tight, close kin are often deadly rivals.

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What People Are Saying


Those fond of intoning piously that a biological universal is support and loyalty to one's family members may want to rethink their position. Doug Mock has many grim tales to tell about family dynamics in species that make the Simpsons look like the Brady Bunch. But the book is much more than the natural history of family dysfunction; it is a model of how behavioral ecology can and should be done. This is a gripping read. Just don't take the book to family reunions.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674012851
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/2004
  • Pages: 288

Meet the Author

Douglas W. Mock is Professor in the Department of Zoology at University of Oklahoma. He is the coauthor of The Evolution of Sibling Rivalry.

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Table of Contents

Prologue 1
1 In a Family Way 4
2 The Problem with Sex 14
3 Nursery Life with Attitude 24
4 The Trouble with Parents 34
5 Raising Cain 50
6 Killing Me Softly 67
7 Parenting in an Uncertain World 77
8 The Ultimate Food-Fight 84
9 Gambling with Children 105
10 Beggars, Cheats, and Bad Fruit 121
11 Silly Squabbles and Serious Sabotage 138
12 Parent-Offspring Conflict Revisited 156
13 Till Death Do Us Part 174
14 Upgrading the Kids 192
15 Together Again 207
Epilogue 226
Notes 231
Works Cited 241
Acknowledgments 261
Index 263
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