Paleobiology struggled for decades to influence our understanding of evolution and the history of life because it was stymied by a focus on microevolution and an incredibly patchy fossil record. But in the 1970s, the field took a radical turn, as paleobiologists began to investigate processes that could only be recognized in the fossil record across larger scales of time and space. That turn led to a new wave of macroevolutionary investigations, novel insights into the evolution of species, and a growing prominence for the field among the biological sciences.
In The Quality of the Archaeological Record, Charles Perreault shows that archaeology not only faces a parallel problem, but may also find a model in the rise of paleobiology for a shift in the science and theory of the field. To get there, he proposes a more macroscale approach to making sense of the archaeological record, an approach that reveals patterns and processes not visible within the span of a human lifetime, but rather across an observation window thousands of years long and thousands of kilometers wide. Just as with the fossil record, the archaeological record has the scope necessary to detect macroscale cultural phenomena because it can provide samples that are large enough to cancel out the noise generated by micro-scale events. By recalibrating their research to the quality of the archaeological record and developing a true macroarchaeology program, Perreault argues, archaeologists can finally unleash the full contributive value of their discipline.
Quantitative genetics—the statistical study of the inheritance of traits within a population—has become an important tool for studying the evolution of behavior in the last decade. Quantitative Genetic Studies of Behavioral Evolution examines the theory and methods of quantitative genetics and presents case studies that illustrate the many ways in which the methods can be applied.
Christine R. B. Boake brings together current theoretical and empirical studies to show how quantitative genetics can illuminate topics as diverse as sexual selection, migration, sociality, and aggressive behavior. Nearly half of the chapters focus on conceptual issues, ranging from quantitative genetic models to the complementary roles of quantitative genetic and optimality approaches in evolutionary studies. Other chapters illustrate how to use the techniques by providing surveys of research fields, such as the evolution of mating behavior, sexual selection, migration, and size-dependent behavioral variation. The balance of the volume offers case studies of territoriality in fruit flies, cannibalism in flour beetles, mate-attractive traits in crickets, locomotor behavior and physiology in the garter snake, and cold adaptation in the house mouse. Taken together, these studies document both the benefits and pitfalls of quantitative genetics.
This book shows the advanced student and scholar of behavioral evolution and genetics the many powerful uses of quantitative genetics in behavioral research.