Female and male brains are different, thanks to hormones coursing through the brain before birth. That’s taught as fact in psychology textbooks, academic journals, and bestselling books. And these hardwired differences explain everything from sexual orientation to gender identity, to why there aren’t more women physicists or more stay-at-home dads.
In this compelling book, Rebecca Jordan-Young takes on the evidence that sex differences are hardwired into the brain. Analyzing virtually all published research that supports the claims of “human brain organization theory,” Jordan-Young reveals how often these studies fail the standards of science. Even if careful researchers point out the limits of their own studies, other researchers and journalists can easily ignore them because brain organization theory just sounds so right. But if a series of methodological weaknesses, questionable assumptions, inconsistent definitions, and enormous gaps between ambiguous findings and grand conclusions have accumulated through the years, then science isn’t scientific at all.
Elegantly written, this book argues passionately that the analysis of gender differences deserves far more rigorous, biologically sophisticated science. “The evidence for hormonal sex differentiation of the human brain better resembles a hodge-podge pile than a solid structure…Once we have cleared the rubble, we can begin to build newer, more scientific stories about human development.”
The alarm calls of birds make them difficult for predators to locate, while the howl of wolves and the croak of bullfrogs are designed to carry across long distances. From an engineer's perspective, how do such specialized adaptations among living things really work? And how does physics constrain evolution, channeling it in particular directions?
Writing with wit and a richly informed sense of wonder, Denny and McFadzean offer an expert look at animals as works of engineering, each exquisitely adapted to a specific manner of survival, whether that means spinning webs or flying across continents or hunting in the dark-or writing books. This particular book, containing more than a hundred illustrations, conveys clearly, for engineers and nonengineers alike, the physical principles underlying animal structure and behavior.
Pigeons, for instance-when understood as marvels of engineering-are flying remote sensors: they have wideband acoustical receivers, hi-res optics, magnetic sensing, and celestial navigation. Albatrosses expend little energy while traveling across vast southern oceans, by exploiting a technique known to glider pilots as dynamic soaring. Among insects, one species of fly can locate the source of a sound precisely, even though the fly itself is much smaller than the wavelength of the sound it hears. And that big-brained, upright Great Ape? Evolution has equipped us to figure out an important fact about the natural world: that there is more to life than engineering, but no life at all without it.
This book is an intellectual tour de force: a comprehensive Darwinian interpretation of human development. Looking at the entire range of human evolutionary history, Melvin Konner tells the compelling and complex story of how cross-cultural and universal characteristics of our growth from infancy to adolescence became rooted in genetically inherited characteristics of the human brain.
All study of our evolution starts with one simple truth: human beings take an extraordinarily long time to grow up. What does this extended period of dependency have to do with human brain growth and social interactions? And why is play a sign of cognitive complexity, and a spur for cultural evolution? As Konner explores these questions, and topics ranging from bipedal walking to incest taboos, he firmly lays the foundations of psychology in biology.
As his book eloquently explains, human learning and the greatest human intellectual accomplishments are rooted in our inherited capacity for attachments to each other. In our love of those we learn from, we find our way as individuals and as a species. Never before has this intersection of the biology and psychology of childhood been so brilliantly described.
"Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution," wrote Dobzhansky. In this remarkable book, Melvin Konner shows that nothing in childhood makes sense except in the light of evolution.
Explorations in Developmental Biology is a revolutionary departure from time-honored introductory texts. The book is based on the premise that the substance, concepts, and excitement of contemporary developmental biology are best communicated to students by using the same form in which they were first communicated to the scientific community — original research reports. But a simple collection of original papers is not sufficient; it is too limited in scope and too disjointed, and students are not prepared to read them with understanding. In this book, designed to serve as the principal text for a first or second course in developmental biology, basic concepts are presented in a series of 22 chapters that focus on major, often unsolved, problems ranging from self-assembly to embryonic induction to cellular communication by surface contact. Within each chapter the authors provide the necessary background in developmental biology, and also describe the specific experimental procedures that enable the student to understand and appreciate the contributions of significant research papers that are included. The authors' texts and the reprinted papers are integrated into a cohesive whole, so that each chapter provides up-to-date information about an important area of developmental biology and raises specific questions.
Throughout, the text is profusely illustrated with original drawings and with figures taken from the literature, and each chapter contains a brief guide to pertinent publications.
Explorations in Developmental Biology makes it possible for teachers and students to penetrate the perennial barrier between classroom and research laboratory. Students who use this book are well equipped to move on to more advanced studies in biology; for they will have acquired the ability to use and to evaluate original scientific communications and will have assimilated the subject matter of a science that is at the center of modern biology.
Here is a brief and authoritative account of human physical growth, beautifully written by one of the world's foremost experts. In Fetus into Man Professor Tanner tells the story of growth in language that is both accessible to the nonbiologist and acceptable to the biologist.
The book begins with the basics of growth: cell division, hormonal control and differential growth of body tissues. It then builds on these basics to provide a picture of individual growth--from the fetus in utero to the development of sex differences at puberty. Tanner pays special attention along the way to the psychological and social problems faced by children who mature either too soon or too late, and he concludes with a full description of the major growth disorders and current methods of treatment.
Fetus into Man will be an important reference for parents, educators, students of development, and indeed anyone who must deal with the growing child.
In light of scientific advances such as genomics, predictive diagnostics, genetically engineered agriculture, nuclear transfer cloning, and the manipulation of stem cells, the idea that genes carry predetermined molecular programs or blueprints is pervasive. Yet new scientific discoveries—such as rna transcripts of single genes that can lead to the production of different compounds from the same pieces of dna—challenge the concept of the gene alone as the dominant factor in biological development. Increasingly aware of the tension between certain empirical results and interpretations of those results based on the orthodox view of genetic determinism, a growing number of scientists urge a rethinking of what a gene is and how it works. In this collection, a group of internationally renowned scientists present some prominent alternative approaches to understanding the role of dna in the construction and function of biological organisms.
Contributors discuss alternatives to the programmatic view of dna, including the developmental systems approach, methodical culturalism, the molecular process concept of the gene, the hermeneutic theory of description, and process structuralist biology. None of the approaches cast doubt on the notion that dna is tremendously important to biological life on earth; rather, contributors examine different ideas of how dna should be represented, evaluated, and explained. Just as ideas about genetic codes have reached far beyond the realm of science, the reconceptualizations of genetic theory in this volume have broad implications for ethics, philosophy, and the social sciences.
Contributors. Thomas Bürglin, Brian C. Goodwin, James Griesemer, Paul Griffiths, Jesper Hoffmeyer, Evelyn Fox Keller, Gerd B. Müller, Eva M. Neumann-Held, Stuart A. Newman, Susan Oyama, Christoph Rehmann-Sutter, Sahotra Sarkar, Jackie Leach Scully, Gerry Webster, Ulrich Wolf
As humans evolved, we developed technologies to modify our environment, yet these innovations are increasingly affecting our behavior, biology, and society. Now we must figure out how to function in the world we’ve created.
Over thousands of years, humans have invented ingenious ways to gain mastery over our environment. The ability to communicate, accumulate knowledge collectively, and build on previous innovations has enabled us to change nature. Innovation has allowed us to thrive.
The trouble with innovation is that we can seldom go back and undo it. We invent, embrace, and exploit new technologies to modify our environment. Then we modify those technologies to cope with the resulting impacts. Gluckman and Hanson explore what happens when we innovate in a way that leads nature to bite back. To provide nourishment for a growing population, humans developed methods to process and preserve food; but easy access to these energy-dense foods results in obesity. To protect ourselves from dangerous pathogens we embraced cleanliness and invented antibiotics, which has led to rising rates of autoimmune diseases and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. More recently, our growing dependence on the internet and social media has been linked to mental health concerns and declining social cohesion. And we are only at the beginning of the digital transformation that will influence every part of our existence. Our ingenuity has not only changed our world—it has changed us.
Focusing on immediate benefits, we rarely pause to consider the longer-term costs of innovation. Yet we are now starting to see how our choices affect the way our brains develop and our bodies function. The implications are profound. Ingenious opens our eyes to the dangers we face and offers solutions we cannot ignore.
The new field of evolutionary developmental biology is one of the most exciting areas of contemporary biology. The fundamental principle of evolutionary developmental biology ("evo-devo") is that evolution acts through inherited changes in the development of the organism. "Evo-devo" is not merely a fusion of the fields of developmental and evolutionary biology, the grafting of a developmental perspective onto evolutionary biology, or the incorporation of an evolutionary perspective into developmental biology. Evo-devo strives for a unification of genomic, developmental, organismal, population, and natural selection approaches to evolutionary change. It draws from development, evolution, paleontology, ecology, and molecular and systematic biology, but has its own set of questions, approaches, and methods.
Keywords and Concepts in Evolutionary Developmental Biology is the first comprehensive reference work for this expanding field. Covering more than fifty central terms and concepts in entries written by leading experts, Keywords offers an overview of all that is embraced by this new subdiscipline of biology, providing the core insights and ideas that show how embryonic development relates to life-history evolution, adaptation, and responses to and integration with environmental factors.
Though we have other distinguishing characteristics (walking on two legs, for instance, and relative hairlessness), the brain and the behavior it produces are what truly set us apart from the other apes and primates. And how this three-pound organ composed of water, fat, and protein turned a mammal species into the dominant animal on earth today is the story John S. Allen seeks to tell.
Adopting what he calls a “bottom-up” approach to the evolution of human behavior, Allen considers the brain as a biological organ; a collection of genes, cells, and tissues that grows, eats, and ages, and is subject to the direct effects of natural selection and the phylogenetic constraints of its ancestry. An exploration of the evolution of this critical organ based on recent work in paleoanthropology, brain anatomy and neuroimaging, molecular genetics, life history theory, and related fields, his book shows us the brain as a product of the contexts in which it evolved: phylogenetic, somatic, genetic, ecological, demographic, and ultimately, cultural-linguistic. Throughout, Allen focuses on the foundations of brain evolution rather than the evolution of behavior or cognition. This perspective demonstrates how, just as some aspects of our behavior emerge in unexpected ways from the development of certain cognitive capacities, a more nuanced understanding of behavioral evolution might develop from a clearer picture of brain evolution.
Leading gender and science scholar Sarah S. Richardson charts the untold history of the idea that a woman's health and behavior during pregnancy can have long-term effects on her descendants' health and welfare.
The idea that a woman may leave a biological trace on her gestating offspring has long been a commonplace folk intuition and a matter of scientific intrigue, but the form of that idea has changed dramatically over time. Beginning with the advent of modern genetics at the turn of the twentieth century, biomedical scientists dismissed any notion that a mother—except in cases of extreme deprivation or injury—could alter her offspring’s traits. Consensus asserted that a child’s fate was set by a combination of its genes and post-birth upbringing.
Over the last fifty years, however, this consensus was dismantled, and today, research on the intrauterine environment and its effects on the fetus is emerging as a robust program of study in medicine, public health, psychology, evolutionary biology, and genomics. Collectively, these sciences argue that a woman’s experiences, behaviors, and physiology can have life-altering effects on offspring development.
Tracing a genealogy of ideas about heredity and maternal-fetal effects, this book offers a critical analysis of conceptual and ethical issues—in particular, the staggering implications for maternal well-being and reproductive autonomy—provoked by the striking rise of epigenetics and fetal origins science in postgenomic biology today.
In this gustatory tour of human history, John S. Allen demonstrates that the everyday activity of eating offers deep insights into human beings’ biological and cultural heritage.
We humans eat a wide array of plants and animals, but unlike other omnivores we eat with our minds as much as our stomachs. This thoughtful relationship with food is part of what makes us a unique species, and makes culinary cultures diverse. Not even our closest primate relatives think about food in the way Homo sapiens does. We are superomnivores whose palates reflect the natural history of our species.
Drawing on the work of food historians and chefs, anthropologists and neuroscientists, Allen starts out with the diets of our earliest ancestors, explores cooking’s role in our evolving brain, and moves on to the preoccupations of contemporary foodies. The Omnivorous Mind delivers insights into food aversions and cravings, our compulsive need to label foods as good or bad, dietary deviation from “healthy” food pyramids, and cross-cultural attitudes toward eating (with the French, bien sûr, exemplifying the pursuit of gastronomic pleasure).
To explain, for example, the worldwide popularity of crispy foods, Allen considers first the food habits of our insect-eating relatives. He also suggests that the sound of crunch may stave off dietary boredom by adding variety to sensory experience. Or perhaps fried foods, which we think of as bad for us, interject a frisson of illicit pleasure. When it comes to eating, Allen shows, there’s no one way to account for taste.
Ontogeny and Phylogeny
Stephen Jay Gould Harvard University Press, 1985 Library of Congress QH371.G68 | Dewey Decimal 575.01
“Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” was Haeckel’s answer—the wrong one—to the most vexing question of nineteenth-century biology: what is the relationship between individual development (ontogeny) and the evolution of species and lineages (phylogeny)? In this, the first major book on the subject in fifty years, Stephen Jay Gould documents the history of the idea of recapitulation from its first appearance among the pre-Socratics to its fall in the early twentieth century.
Mr. Gould explores recapitulation as an idea that intrigued politicians and theologians as well as scientists. He shows that Haeckel’s hypothesis—that human fetuses with gill slits are, literally, tiny fish, exact replicas of their water-breathing ancestors—had an influence that extended beyond biology into education, criminology, psychoanalysis (Freud and Jung were devout recapitulationists), and racism. The theory of recapitulation, Gould argues, finally collapsed not from the weight of contrary data, but because the rise of Mendelian genetics rendered it untenable.
Turning to modern concepts, Gould demonstrates that, even though the whole subject of parallels between ontogeny and phylogeny fell into disrepute, it is still one of the great themes of evolutionary biology. Heterochrony—changes in developmental timing, producing parallels between ontogeny and phylogeny—is shown to be crucial to an understanding of gene regulation, the key to any rapprochement between molecular and evolutionary biology. Gould argues that the primary evolutionary value of heterochrony may lie in immediate ecological advantages for slow or rapid maturation, rather than in long-term changes of form, as all previous theories proclaimed.
Neoteny—the opposite of recapitulation—is shown to be the most important determinant of human evolution. We have evolved by retaining the juvenile characters of our ancestors and have achieved both behavioral flexibility and our characteristic morphology thereby (large brains by prolonged retention of rapid fetal growth rates, for example).
Gould concludes that “there may be nothing new under the sun, but permutation of the old within complex systems can do wonders. As biologists, we deal directly with the kind of material complexity that confers an unbounded potential upon simple, continuous changes in underlying processes. This is the chief joy of our science.”
The Ovary of Eve is a rich and often hilarious account of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century efforts to understand conception. In these early years of the Scientific Revolution, the most intelligent men and women of the day struggled to come to terms with the origins of new life, and one theory—preformation—sparked an intensely heated debate that continued for over a hundred years. Clara Pinto-Correia traces the history of this much maligned theory through the cultural capitals of Europe.
"The most wonderfully eye-opening, or imagination-opening book, as amusing as it is instructive."—Mary Warnock, London Observer
"[A] fascinating and often humorous study of a reproductive theory that flourished from the mid-17th century to the mid-18th century."—Nina C. Ayoub, Chronicle of Higher Education
"More than just a good story, The Ovary of Eve is an object lesson about the history of science: Don't trust it. . . . Pinto-Correia says she wants to tell the story of history's losers. In doing so, she makes defeat sound more appealing than victory."—Emily Eakin, Nation.
"A sparkling history of preformation as it once affected every facet of European culture."—Robert Taylor, Boston Globe
<p>Bringing together a never-before-assembled network of biologists, psychologists, and sociologists, <em>Positive Youth Development and Spirituality</em> scientifically examines how spirituality and its cultivation may affect the positive development of adolescents. </p>
<p>Chapters provide groundbreaking new discussions of conceptual, theoretical, definitional, and methodological issues that need to be addressed when exploring the relationships between spirituality and development. Throughout the book, contributors recommend ways in which the research on the spirituality/positive youth development connection may be integral in building the larger field of spiritual development as a legitimate and active domain of developmental science. This volume, which is sure to be seen as a seminal contribution to a field in need of theoretical underpinnings, will be of interest to scholars and scientists in the fields of biology and the social and behavioral sciences.</p>
<p>Contributors include: Mona Abo-Zena, Jeffrey Jensen Arnnett, Peter L. Benson, Marina Umaschi Bers, Aerika Brittian, William Damon, Angela M. DeSilva, Jacquelynne S. Eccles, David Henry Feldman, Simon Gächter, Elena L. Grigorenko, Sonia S. Isaac, Lene Arnett Jensen, Carl N. Johnson, Linda Juang, Pamela Ebstyne King, Richard M. Lerner, Jennifer Menon, Na'ilah Sued Nasir, Guerda Nicolas, Toma´š Paus, Stephen C. Peck, Erin Phelps, Alan P. Poey, Robert W. Roeser, W. George Scarlett, Lonnie R. Sherrod, Gabriel S. Spiewak, Chris Starmer, Moin Syed, Janice L. Templeton, Heather L. Urry, and Richard Wilkinson.</p>
Since the last edition of this definitive textbook was published in 2013, much has happened in the field of animal behavior. In this fourth edition, Lee Alan Dugatkin draws on cutting-edge new work not only to update and expand on the studies presented, but also to reinforce the previous editions’ focus on ultimate and proximate causation, as well as the book’s unique emphasis on natural selection, learning, and cultural transmission. The result is a state-of-the-art textbook on animal behavior that explains underlying concepts in a way that is both scientifically rigorous and accessible to students. Each chapter in the book provides a sound theoretical and conceptual basis upon which the empirical studies rest. A completely new feature in this edition are the Cognitive Connection boxes in Chapters 2–17, designed to dig deep into the importance of the cognitive underpinnings to many types of behaviors. Each box focuses on a specific issue related to cognition and the particular topic covered in that chapter.
As Principles of Animal Behavior makes clear, the tapestry of animal behavior is created from weaving all of these components into a beautiful whole. With Dugatkin’s exquisitely illustrated, comprehensive, and up-to-date fourth edition, we are able to admire that beauty anew.
Charles Darwin struggled to explain how forty thousand bees working in the dark, seemingly by instinct alone, could organize themselves to construct something as perfect as a honey comb. How do bees accomplish such incredible tasks? Synthesizing the findings of decades of experiments, The Spirit of the Hive presents a comprehensive picture of the genetic and physiological mechanisms underlying the division of labor in honey bee colonies and explains how bees’ complex social behavior has evolved over millions of years.
Robert Page, one of the foremost honey bee geneticists in the world, sheds light on how the coordinated activity of hives arises naturally when worker bees respond to stimuli in their environment. The actions they take in turn alter the environment and so change the stimuli for their nestmates. For example, a bee detecting ample stores of pollen in the hive is inhibited from foraging for more, whereas detecting the presence of hungry young larvae will stimulate pollen gathering. Division of labor, Page shows, is an inevitable product of group living, because individual bees vary genetically and physiologically in their sensitivities to stimuli and have different probabilities of encountering and responding to them.
A fascinating window into self-organizing regulatory networks of honey bees, The Spirit of the Hive applies genomics, evolution, and behavior to elucidate the details of social structure and advance our understanding of complex adaptive systems in nature.
A tiny scrap of genetic information determines our sex; it also consigns many of us to a life of disease, directs or disrupts the everyday working of our bodies, and forces women to live as genetic chimeras. The culprit--so necessary and yet the source of such upheaval--is the X chromosome, and this is its story. An enlightening and entertaining tour of the cultural and natural history of this intriguing member of the genome, The X in Sex traces the journey toward our current understanding of the nature of X. From its chance discovery in the nineteenth century to the promise and implications of ongoing research, David Bainbridge shows how the X evolved and where it and its counterpart Y are going, how it helps assign developing human babies their sex--and maybe even their sexuality--and how it affects our lives in infinitely complex and subtle ways. X offers cures for disease, challenges our cultural, ethical, and scientific assumptions about maleness and femaleness, and has even reshaped our views of human evolution and human nature.