Advertisement

The Behavioral Sciences and Sociobiology: A Darwinian Approach

  • John Alcock

Abstract

Darwinian natural selection theory is the theory of choice for the overwhelming majority of behavioral biologists interested in the evolution of adaptive social behavior despite many challenges to the discipline of sociobiology over the years. The initial criticisms came from a group of ideologues who argued that sociobiology was based on a form of genetic determinism. This view was dismissed by working sociobiologists for several reasons but primarily because the criticism fundamentally misrepresents the goal of the discipline, which is to test hypotheses about the evolution and adaptive value of social traits and not to examine the proximate causes that influence the development of an individual’s social behavior during its lifetime. Among the additional opposing views to the discipline that have been presented over the years are those held by academics who believe (1) that evolution occurs because of differences among groups (not individuals), (2) that kin selection theory (an amendment to Darwinian natural selection theory) has failed and should be dropped, and (3) that Darwinian sexual selection (a subset of natural selection theory) should be replaced by a more modern and inclusive theory of the evolutionary effects of the interactions between the sexes. This chapter debunks each of these competitors. Darwinian theory as modified over the last 50 years continues to be the basis for evolutionary research into the interactions between the sexes, helpful behavior in its various forms, especially the evolution of altruistic behavior, and all aspects of human sociality.

Keywords

Adaptation Altruism Cooperation Darwinism Evolutionary psychology Group selection theory Natural selection theory Selfish genes Sexual selection theory Sociobiology 

References

  1. Abbot P, Abe J, Alcock J et al (2011) Inclusive fitness theory and eusociality. Nature 471:E1–E4.  https://doi.org/10.1038/nature09831CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Albo MJ, Bilde T, Uhl H (2013) Sperm storage mediated by cryptic female choice for nuptial gifts. Proc R Soc B 280.  https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2013.1735
  3. Alcock J (1994) Post-insemination associations between males and females in insects: the mate guarding hypothesis. Ann Rev Ent 39:1–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Alcock J (1998) Unpunctuated equilibrium in the natural history essays of Stephen Jay Gould. Evol Hum Behav 19:321–336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Alcock J (2001) The triumph of sociobiology. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. Alcock J (2013) Animal behavior: an evolutionary approach, 10th edn. Sinauer Associates, SunderlandGoogle Scholar
  7. Alexander RD (1971) The search for an evolutionary philosophy of man. Proc R Soc Vic 84:99–120Google Scholar
  8. Alexander RD (1974) The evolution of social behaviour. Ann Rev Ecol Syst 5:325–383CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Alexander RD (1975) The search for a general theory of behavior. Behav Sci 20:77–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Alexander RD (1979) Darwinism and human affairs. University of Washington Press, SeattleGoogle Scholar
  11. Alexander RD (1987) The biology of moral systems. Aldine de Gruyter, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. Andersson M (1994) Sexual selection. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  13. Barclay P (2013) Strategies for cooperation in biological markets, especially for humans. Evol Hum Behav 34:164–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Berra TM (1990) Evolution and the myth of creationism. A basic guide to the facts in the evolution debate. Stanford, Stanford University PressGoogle Scholar
  15. Biernaskie JM, Foster KR (2016) Ecology and multilevel selection explain aggression in spider colonies. Ecol Let 19:873–879CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Birkhead TR (2002) Promiscuity: an evolutionary history of sperm competition. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  17. Birkhead TR (2010) How stupid not to have thought of that: post-copulatory sexual selection. J Zool 281:78–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Birkhead TR, Møller AP (eds) (1998) Sperm competition and sexual selection. Academic, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  19. Borgia G (1994) The scandals of San Marco. Q Rev Biol 69:373–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Bowler PJ (2017) Alternatives to Darwinism in the early twentieth century. In: Delisle RG (ed) The Darwinian tradition in context: research programs in evolutionary biology. Springer, Cham, pp 195–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Brown JL (1982) The adaptationist program. Science 217:884, 886CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Burton-Chellew MN, Dunbar RIM (2015) Hamilton’s rule predicts anticipated social support in humans. Behav Ecol 26:30–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Buss DM (1989) Sex differences in human mate preferences: evolutionary hypothesis testing in 37 cultures. Behav Brain Sci 12:1–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Buss DM (1995) Evolutionary psychology: a new paradigm for psychological science. Psychol Inq 6:1–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Buss DM (1998) Sexual strategies theory: historical origins and current status. J Sex Res 35:19–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Buss DM (2003) The evolution of desire, 4th edn. Basic Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  27. Buss DM (2016) Evolutionary psychology: the new science of the mind. Routledge, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  28. Chapman T, Liddle LF, Kalb JM et al (1995) Cost of mating in Drosophila melanogaster females is mediated by male accessory gland products. Nature 373:241–244PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Clutton-Brock T (2010) We do not need a sexual selection 2.0-nor a theory of genial selection. Anim Behav 79:e7–e10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Collins FS (2006) The language of god: a scientist presents evidence for belief. Free Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  31. Coyne J (2009) Why evolution is true. Penguin Publishing Group, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  32. Creel S, Creel NM (2015) Opposing effects of group size on reproduction and survival in African wild dogs. Behav Ecol 26:1414–1422CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Darwin C (1859) On the origin of species by means of natural selection. John Murray, LondonGoogle Scholar
  34. Darwin C (1871) The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. John Murray, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Davies NB (1983) Polyandry, cloaca pecking and sperm competition in dunnocks. Nature 302:334–336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Dawkins R (1976) The selfish gene. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  37. Dawkins R (1981) The blind watchmaker. WW Norton, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  38. Dean T, Nakagawa S, Pizzari T (2011) The risk and intensity of sperm ejection in female birds. Am Nat 178:343–354PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Delisle RG (2017) From Charles Darwin to the evolutionary synthesis: weak and diffused connections only. In: Delisle RG (ed) The Darwinian tradition in context: research programs in evolutionary biology. Springer, Cham, pp 133–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Dìaz-Muñoz SL, Duval EH, Krakauer AH et al (2014) Cooperating to compete: altruism, sexual selection and male coalitions. Anim Behav 88:67–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Driessens T, Huyghe K, Vanhooydonck B et al (2015) Messages conveyed by assorted facets of the dewlap, in both sexes of Anolis sagrei. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 69:1251–1264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Dunson DB, Colombo B, Baird DB (2002) Changes with age in the level and duration of fertility in the menstrual cycle. Hum Reprod 17:1399–1403PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Eberhard WG (1991) Copulatory courtship and cryptic female choice in insects. Biol Rev 66:1–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Eberhard WG (1996) Female control: sexual selection and cryptic female choice. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  45. Eberhard WG (2009) Postcopulatory sexual selection: Darwin’s omission and its consequences. Proc Nat Acad Sci 106:10025–10032PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Edward DA, Chapman T (2011) The evolution and significance of male mate choice. Trends Ecol Evol 26:647–654PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Edward DA, Stockley P, Hosken DJ (2015) Sexual conflict and sperm competition. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol 7.  https://doi.org/10.1101/cshperspect.a017707
  48. Esposito M (2017) The organismal synthesis: holistic science and developmental evolution in the English-speaking world, 1915–1954. In: Delisle RG (ed) The Darwinian tradition in context: research programs in evolutionary biology. Springer, Cham, pp 219–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Gangestad SW, Thornhill R (2008) Human oestrus. Proc R Soc B 275:991–1000PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Gardner A, West SA (2014) Inclusive fitness: 50 years on. Philos Trans R Soc B 369.  https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2013.0356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Gaulin SJC, McBurney D (2004) Evolutionary psychology. Pearson/Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle RiverGoogle Scholar
  52. Geary DC, Vigil J, Byrd-Craven J (2004) Evolution of human mate choice. J Sex Res 41:27–42PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Giffith SC, Owens IPF, Thurman KA (2002) Extra pair paternity in birds: a review of interspecific variation and adaptive function. Mol Ecol 11:2195–2212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Gilby IC, Brent LJN, Wroblewski EE et al (2013) Fitness benefits of coalitionary aggression in male chimpanzees. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 67:373–381PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Gottleib A (2012) It ain’t necessarily so. New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/09/17/it-aint-necessarily-so
  56. Gould SJ (1976) Biological potential vs. biological determinism. Nat Hist 85:12–16, 18–20, 22Google Scholar
  57. Gould SJ (1981) Hyena myths and realities. Nat Hist 90:16–24Google Scholar
  58. Gould SJ (1982) The guano ring. Nat Hist 91(12–14):17–19Google Scholar
  59. Gould SJ (1984) Only his wings remained. Nat Hist 93:10–18Google Scholar
  60. Gould SJ, Lewontin R (1979) The spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian paradigm: a critique of the adaptionist programme. Proc R Soc Lond B 205:581–598PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Gwynne DT (1984) Sexual selection and sexual differences in Mormon crickets (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae, Anabrus simplex). Evolution 38:011–1022Google Scholar
  62. Gwynne DT (1985) Role reversal in katydids: Habitat influences reproductive behaviour (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae, Metaballus species). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 16:355–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Gwynne DT, Simmons LW (1990) Experimental reversal of courtship role in an insect. Nature 346:172–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Hagen EH (2005) Controversial issues in evolutionary psychology. In: Buss DM (ed) The handbook of evolutionary psychology. Wiley, Hoboken, pp 145–173Google Scholar
  65. Hamilton WD (1964) The genetical evolution of social behaviour, I, II. J Theor Biol 7:1–16PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Kavanagh EE (2006) Debating sexual selection and mating strategies. Science 312:689–697Google Scholar
  67. Kelly CD (2015) Male-biased sex ratios and plasticity in post-insemination behaviour in the New Zealand stick insect Micrarchus hystriculeus. Behaviour 152:653–666CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Krams I, Krama T, Igaune K et al (2007) Experimental evidence of reciprocal altruism in the pied flycatcher. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 62:599–605CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Kutschera U (2017) Symbiogenesis and cell evolution: an anti-Darwinian research agenda? In: Delisle RG (ed) The Darwinian tradition in context: research programs in evolutionary biology. Springer, Cham, pp 302–332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Levins R, Lewontin R (1985) The dialectical biologist. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  71. Li NP, Kenrick DT (2006) Sex similarities and differences in preferences for short-term mates: what, whether, and why. J Pers Soc Psychol 90:468–489PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Liao X, Rong S, Queller D (2015) Relatedness, conflict and the evolution of eusociality. PLOS One 13.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002098PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Marshall JAR (2011) Group selection and kin selection: formally equivalent approaches. Trends Ecol Evol 26:325–332PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Miller SL, Maner JK (2011) Ovulation as a male mating prime: subtle signs of women’s fertility influence men’s mating cognition and behavior. J Pers Soc Psychol 100:295–308PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Miller G, Tybur JM, Jordan BD (2007) Ovulatory cycle effects on tip earnings by lap dancers: economic evidence for human estrus? Evol Hum Behav 28:375–381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Montoya B, Torres R (2015) Male skin color signals direct and indirect benefits in a species with biparental care. Behav Ecol 26:425–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Moore D, Wigby S, English S et al (2002) Selflessness is sexy: reported helping behaviour increases desirability of men and women as long-term sexual partners. BMC Evol Biol 13.  https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2148-13-182PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Nowak MA, Tarnita CE, Wilson EO (2010) The evolution of eusociality. Nature 466:1057–1062PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Packer C, Gilbert DA, Pusey AE et al (1991) A molecular genetic-analysis of kinship and cooperation in African lions. Nature 351:562–565CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Parker GA (1970) Sperm competition and its evolutionary consequences in insects. Biol Rev 45:525–567CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Petrie M, Halliday T (1994) Experimental and natural changes in the peacocks’ (Pavo cristatus) train can affect mating success. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 35:213–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Pigliucci M (2017) Darwinism after the modern synthesis. In: Delisle RG (ed) The Darwinian tradition in context: research programs in evolutionary biology. Springer, Cham, pp 89–104Google Scholar
  83. Queller DC (1995) The spaniels of St. Marx and the Panglossian paradox: a critique of a rhetorical programme. Q Rev Biol 70:485–489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Rachlin H, Jones BA (2008) Altruism among relatives and non-relatives. Behav Proc 79:120–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Ratnieks FLW, Foster KR, Wenseleers T (2006) Conflict resolution in social insects. Annu Rev Ent 51:581–608CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Reeve HK (2000) Review of Unto others: the evolution and psychology of unselfish behavior. Evol Hum Behav 21:65–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Ridley M (1996) The origins of virtue. Viking, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  88. Roberts G (2015) Human cooperation: the race to give. Curr Biol 25:R425–R427PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Roberts SC, Havilcek J, Flegr J et al (2004) Female facial attractiveness increases during the fertile phase of the menstrual cycle. Proc R Soc B 271:S270–S272PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Roughgarden J (2004) Evolution’s rainbow: diversity, gender and sexuality in nature and people. University of California Press, Los AngelesGoogle Scholar
  91. Roughgarden J (2012) The social selection alternative to sexual selection. Philos Trans R Soc B 367:2294–2303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Roughgarden J, Akçay E (2010) Do we need a sexual selection 2.0? Anim Behav 79:e1–e4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Rumbaugh KP, Trivedi U, Watters C et al (2012) Kin selection, quorum sensing and virulence in pathogenic bacteria. Proc R Soc B 279:3584–3588PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Ruse M (1979) Sociobiology – sense or nonsense? D Reidel, DordrechtCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Schultner E, Gardner A, Karhunen M et al (2014) Ant larvae as players in social conflict: relatedness and individual identity mediate cannibalism intensity. Am Nat 184:E161–E174PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Shanahan T (2017) Selfish genes and lucky breaks: Richard Dawkins’ and Stephen Jay Gould’s: divergent Darwinian agendas. In: Delisle RG (ed) The Darwinian tradition in context: research programs in evolutionary biology. Springer, Cham, pp 11–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Singh M, Boomsma JJ (2015) Policing and punishment across the domains of social evolution. Oikos 124:971–982CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Simmons LW (2001) Sperm competition and its evolutionary consequences in the insects. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  99. Slater D (2013) Darwin was wrong about dating. NY Times, Jan 13. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/opinion/sunday/darwin-was-wrong-about-dating.html?_r=0
  100. Sober E, Wilson DS (1998) Unto others: the evolution and psychology of unselfish behavior. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  101. Sociobiology Study Group (1976) Sociobiology: another biological determinism. BioScience 26(182):184–186Google Scholar
  102. Strassmann JE, Page RE Jr, Robinson GE et al (2011) Kin selection and eusociality. Nature 471:E5–E6PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Thornhill R (1983) Cryptic female choice in the scorpionfly Harpobittacus nigriceps and its implications. Am Nat 122:765–788CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. Tinbergen N (1963) On the aims and methods of ethology. Z Tierpsychol 20:410–433CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  105. Tinbergen N, Broekhuysen GJ, Feekes F et al (1962) Egg shell removal by the black-headed gull, Larus ridibundus L.; a behaviour component of camouflage. Behaviour 19:74–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  106. Trivers RL (2015) Vignettes of famous evolutionary biologists, large and small. Unz Review. http://www.unz.com/article/vignettes-of-famous-evolutionary-biologists-large-and-small/. Accessed 16 Nov 2015
  107. Waage JK (1979) Dual function of the damselfly penis: sperm removal and transfer. Science 203:916–918PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  108. Wada T, Takegaki T, Mori T et al (2010) Sperm removal, ejaculation and their behavioural interaction in male cuttlefish in response to female mating history. Anim Behav 79:613–619CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  109. West SA, El Moulden C, Gardner A (2011) Sixteen common misconceptions about cooperation in humans. Evol Hum Behav 32:231–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  110. Westneat DF, Sherman PW, Morton ML (1990) The ecology and evolution of extra-pair copulations in birds. Curr Ornithol 7:331–369Google Scholar
  111. Williams GC (1966) Adaptation and natural selection. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJGoogle Scholar
  112. Wilson DS (1975a) A general theory of group selection. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 72:143–146PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  113. Wilson DS (1977) Structured demes and the evolution of group advantageous traits. Am Nat 111:157–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  114. Wilson DS, Wilson EO (2007) Rethinking the theoretical foundation of sociobiology. Q Rev Biol 82:327–348PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  115. Wilson EO (1975b) Sociobiology, the new synthesis. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  116. Wilson EO (1976) Academic vigilantism and the political significance of sociobiology. Bioscience 26:183, 187–190PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  117. Wu GM, Boivin G, Broideur J et al (2010) Altruistic defence behaviours in aphids. BMC Evol Biol 10:19.  https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2148-10-19CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  118. Wynne-Edwards VC (1962) Animal dispersion in relation to social behavior. Oliver and Boyd, LondonGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Life SciencesArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

Personalised recommendations