Pub. Date:
Oxford University Press
Evolution of Human Behavior

Evolution of Human Behavior

by Agustin FuentesAgustin Fuentes
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Evolution of Human Behavior is the first text to synthesize and compare the major proposals for human behavioral evolution from an anthropological perspective. Ideal for courses in the evolution of human behavior, human evolutionary ecology, evolutionary psychology, and biological anthropology, this unique volume reviews a wide array of approaches--including human behavioral ecology, evolutionary psychology, memetics, and gene-culture co-evolution--on how and why humans evolved behaviorally. Its overview of current and emerging theoretical practices and perspectives offers a novel resource for both students and practitioners.

Author Agustin Fuentes incorporates recent innovations in evolutionary theory with emerging perspectives from genomic approaches, the current fossil record, and ethnographic studies. He examines basic assumptions about why humans behave as they do, the facts of human evolution, patterns of evolutionary change in a global environmental-temporal context, and the interconnected roles of cooperation and conflict in human history. The net result is a text that moves toward a more holistic understanding of the patterns of human evolution and a more integrated perspective on the evolution of human behavior.


*Accessible, student-friendly writing style offers a concise survey of human behavioral evolution for anthropology and psychology undergraduates
*Pedagogical aids--including summary charts and tables, suggested readings, and a glossary of key terms--enhance the text
*Provides extensive tabular charts comparing the components of the major perspectives and proposals in human behavioral evolution to aid students' understanding of the material
*Illustrative and contemporary examples of research in the area of human behavior engage students

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195333589
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 12/05/2008
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Agustin Fuentes is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of Core Concepts in Biological Anthropology (2006) and coauthor/editor of Health, Risk and Adversity (2008), Primates in Perspective (OUP, 2006), Primates Face to Face: The Conservation Implications of Human - Nonhuman Primate Interconnections (2002), and The Nonhuman Primates (1999).

Table of Contents

1. The Relevance of Understanding Human Behavioral Evolution
Theories and Hypotheses about Behavioral Evolution: Why Are They Relevant?
Evolution Is Frequently Misunderstood
We Need to Understand Who We Are
Practical Issues such as Medicine and Public Health Can Benefit from an Understanding of Behavioral Evolution
Misunderstanding Human Behavioral Evolution Can Result in Potentially Dangerous Ideas
A Simple Example of Behavioral Evolution
Gene Flow
Genetic Drift
Why Give This Example?
2. Why We Behave Like Humans: Historical Perspectives and Basal Assumptions
Charles Darwin and the Descent of Man
Alfred Russel Wallace and the Evolution of the Mind
Between Darwin and Sociobiology
Spencer, Baldwin, and Morgan: Biology, Psychology, and the Behavioral Evolution of the Human Mind
The Modern Synthesis
Washburns' New Physical Anthropology, and the Emergence of an Evolutionary Anthropology of Behavior
Tinbergen's Four Questions and Their Impact on the Understanding of Behavior
The Revolution of Sociobiology, Kin Selection, and Selfish Genes: The New Synthesis
Hamilton and Kin Selection
Robert Trivers and Reciprocal Altruism
E.O. Wilson, Evolutionary Sociobiology and the Autocatalysis Model
Dawkins and the Selfish Gene
Suggested Readings
3. Modern Perspectives for Understanding Human Behavioral Evolution: A Review of Basic Assumptions, Structures, and Practice
Human Behavioral Ecology
Basic Overview of HBE
Evolutionary Psychology
The Adapted Mind
Goals and Methods
Contrast with SSSM Specific Approach
Gene-Culture Coevolution (or Dual Inheritance Theory)
Summing Up
Suggested Readings
4. Basic Bones and Stones: What Do We Know About the Record of Human Evolution (as of 2008)?
Comparative Primatology Establishes a Baseline for Human Behavior
Very Brief Summary of Human Fossil Record (~5mya-present)
The Early Australopithecines
The Pleistocene Hominins
The Genus Homo
Very Brief Summary of the Cultural Record and Behavioral Inferences (~2.6mya-present)
Late Pliocene/Early Pleistocene Forms
Pleistocene Hominins--Early
Pleistocene Hominins--Late
Suggested Readings
5. A Survey of Hypotheses and Proposals of Why We Behave Like Humans
Why Select These Proposals?
Summaries of Specific Hypotheses/Proposals
Suggested Readings
6. Discussing the Proposals
The Comparison Tables
A Brief Discussion on Shared Components and Differences in the Six Basic Categories
Environmental and Ecological Pressures
Sex and Reproduction
Specific Behavioral Factors
Of Trends and Patterns
Suggested Readings
7. Twenty-First Century Evolutionary Theory/Biology and Thinking about the Evolution of Human Behavior
Adding to Our Toolkit--Using Four Dimensions of Evolution
Revisiting Tinbergen's Ontogenetic "Why"
Four Other Approaches in Evolutionary Biology/Theory
Phenotypic Plasticity and Ecological Impact/Context: Moving Beyond Norms of Reaction
Developmental Systems Theory
Niche Construction
Biocultural Approaches to Studying Modern Humans
Can Adding These Perspectives to Existing Practice (as Outlined in Chapters 2 and 3) Impact the Way We Formulate and Test Hypotheses/Conceptualizations of Human Behavioral Evolution?
What Practices and Perspectives Should Be Removed or De-emphasized?
What Practices and/or Perspectives Cross All of These Categories?
What Perspectives Should Be Expanded?
Suggested Readings
8. A Synthesis and Prospectus for Examining Human Behavioral Evolution
A Set of Modest Proposals Emerging from Chapters 1 to 7: Seeking the Broad and the Minute Foci
Looking at the Areas of Overlap and Interest from Chapter 6
Cooperation Commonalities
Cooperation Factors that Deserve Further Examination
Conflict Commonalities
Conflict Factors that Deserve Further Examination
Diet/Food Commonalities
Diet/Food Factors that Deserve Further Examination
Ecology/Environment Commonalities
Ecology/Environment Factors that Deserve Further Examination
Sex/Reproduction Commonalities:
Sex/Reproduction Factors that Deserve Further Examination
Specific Behavior Commonalities
Specific Behavior Factors that Deserve Further Examination
A Modest Proposal for a General Framework of Our Evolutionary History
Between Approximately 2 Million Years and 500,000 Years Ago
500,000-45,000 Years Ago (Give or Take 10,000 Years)
45,000 Years Ago Through Today
9. Problem of Being a Modern Human and Looking at Our Evolution
Benefits and Flaws in this Prospectus
Merging Approaches and Perspectives
How Do We Test This and Why Are Testable Hypotheses Important?
The Difficulties We Encounter When Reconstructing Our Evolutionary Path and Its Underlying Causes/Patterns
Basic Educational and Paradigmatic Biases and the Problems These Bring
Human Niche Construction Matters
Everyday Life, Gender, and Cultural Anthropology Matter
Epilogue: Anthropology, Science, and People
Some Notes on the Value of Integrative Anthropological Approaches
Getting Past Conflicts between Researchers Studying Human Behavioral Evolution
The Importance of Understanding the Relationships between Religion, Science, Politics, and Explanations for the Evolution of Humanity
Appendix: Related Titles for Further Reference

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