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The Ant and the Peacock: Altruism and Sexual Selection from Darwin to…
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0521457653, Paperback)The "ant" and the "peacock" stand for two puzzles in Darwinism--altruism and sexual selection. How can natural selection favor those, such as the worker ant, that renounce tooth and claw in favor of the public-spirited ways of the commune? And how can "peacocks"--flamboyant, ornamental and apparently useless--be tolerated by the grimly economical Darwinian reaper? Helena Cronin has a deep understanding of today's answers to these riddles and their roots in the nineteenth century; the analysis is new and exciting and the explanations lucid and compelling.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:50 -0400)
This book is a success story. It explains two long-running puzzles of the theory of natural selection. How can natural selection favour those, like the ant, that renounce tooth and claw in favour of the public-spirited ways of the commune? How can it explain the peacock's tail, flamboyant and a burden to its bearer; surely selection would act against useless ornamentation? Helena Cronin's enthralling account blends history, science and philosophy in a gripping tale that is scholarly, entertaining and eminently readable. The hardback edition was selected by Nature as one of the best scientific books in 1992. Also the New York Times chose it as one of their best books of 1992. The author divides her time between the Philosophy Department at the London School of Economics and the Zoology Department at Oxford.
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