Evolutionary Restraints: The Contentious History of Group Selection

Paperback | May 15, 2012

byMark E. Borrello

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Much of the evolutionary debate since Darwin has focused on the level at which natural selection occurs. Most biologists acknowledge multiple levels of selection—from the gene to the species. The debate about group selection, however, is the focus of Mark E. Borrello’s Evolutionary Restraints.
            Tracing the history of biological attempts to determine whether selection leads to the evolution of fitter groups, Borrello takes as his focus the British naturalist V. C. Wynne-Edwards, who proposed that animals could regulate their own populations and thus avoid overexploitation of their resources. By the mid-twentieth century, Wynne-Edwards became an advocate for group selection theory and led a debate that engaged the most significant evolutionary biologists of his time, including Ernst Mayr, G. C. Williams, and Richard Dawkins. This important dialogue bled out into broader conversations about population regulation, environmental crises, and the evolution of human social behavior. By examining a single facet in the long debate about evolution, Borrello provides powerful insight into an intellectual quandary that remains relevant and alive to this day.

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 Much of the evolutionary debate since Darwin has focused on the level at which natural selection occurs. Most biologists acknowledge multiple levels of selection—from the gene to the species. The debate about group selection, however, is the focus of Mark E. Borrello’s Evolutionary Restraints.            Tracing the history of biologi...

Mark E. Borrello is associate professor of the history of science in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:228 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.6 inPublished:May 15, 2012Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226067033

ISBN - 13:9780226067032

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Chapter 1. Charles Darwin and Natural Selection

Chapter 2. Social Insects, Superorganisms, and Mutual Aid

Chapter 3. Vero Copner Wynne-Edwards

Chapter 4. Theory Development

Chapter 5. Animal Dispersion

Chapter 6. Critique of Wynne-Edwards

Chapter 7. The New Paradigm of the Gene

Chapter 8. The Death of Wynne-Edwards and the Life of an Idea

Notes

Bibliography

Index