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Sign up to take part. Clark and M. Oxford University Press, New York.

Intro to animal behavior (article) | Khan Academy

ISBN For an immunologist and a biological chemist to write a book about human behavior and its presumed genetic underpinning for a lay audience is surely tempting fate, for this is nothing, if not a minefield of controversy. The early chapters do little to allay suspicion.

The dubious heritability statistic is presented as if universally accepted as meaningful, braced by one of those human interest sagas of twins reared apart who on meeting 40 years later discover they have called their pet dogs by the same name and smoke the same brand of cigarettes. It seems we are set for a bumpy ride.

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They approach humans via an evolutionary route, beginning with the sensitivities shown by even single-celled organisms. Caenorhabditis elegans , a nematode whose genetics, neuroanatomical wiring, development and behaviour must have had more research hours devoted to it than almost any species, perhaps excluding Drosophila , warrants a chapter, as does Aplysia for learning and memory.


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Even in their discussion of the animal behavior literature they are less critical of simplistic conclusions than someone closer to the research front would be, for example the recent popular book, Wild Minds: What animals really think , by the neuroscientist and psychologist Mark Hauser. Are we Hardwired?


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There follow a couple of appendices, one on genetic methods, and the other a brief history of the excesses of past eugenic thinking and its implications for the future uses of genetic knowledge. But those of us, and I do not exclude myself, cannot help it if our proper ambitions to explore the implications of our science lay us open to such critics.

Andreasen, N. Hauser, M.

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The authors show why they feel that substantial parts of our personalities and identities are established by our exact genetic complements, without reducing us to powerless creations our genes. Clark brings a fine balance and graceful touch to his most ambitious popular book yet.

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