Genetic differences in humans, like those between individuals of any animal or plant species and those between species, are all products of the evolutionary development of the living world. Th ese diff erences, with their behavioral consequences, can only be understood in the light of evolution. Our understanding of evolution, however, has itself evolved. Th e Darwin-Wallace theory of evolution appeared in the nineteenth century. Since then, development of evolutionary thought has gone through several stages. Th e contributions in this volume describe those stages.
The first four decades after Darwin were dominated by studies in comparative anatomy, embryology, systematics, zoogeography, phytogeography, and paleontology, all intended to discover and examine the evidences of evolution. But the phylogenies of the animal and plant kingdoms, that is, the history of the linkages of animal and plant organisms as they change through time, were less well documented. In particular, the phylogeny of humans is still not completely known.
The period following World War Two saw acceleration of activity in fi elds in and bordering on behavioral genetics. Research in neuroendocrinology showed that higher cortical centers could infl uence and be infl uenced by the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, adrenals, and gonads. Genetic diversity in the function of these organs had obvious consequences for social and cultural behavior. Th e failure of some early and long-reinforced attempts at conditioning by students of comparative animal behavior showed species-specifi c innate behavior could not be ignored in any theory that attempts to combine psychology and anthropology. Th is classic volume summarizes the development of evolutionary thinking, and describes how what we know about genetic diversity links up with research on human behavior.
J. N. Spuhler was known for his pioneering work in the department of anthropological genetics. He taught in many universities including Ohio State University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Mexico. He received the National Academy of Science award for scientific reviewing and his work has appeared in scholarly journals including: Journal of Anthropological Research, Annual Review of Anthropology, and American Journal of Physical Anthropology.