Natural Selection and Social Theory: Selected Papers of Robert L. Trivers

By Robert Trivers | Go to book overview

2
PARENTAL INVESTMENT AND
REPRODUCTIVE SUCCESS

I had a wonderful teacher, a man named William Drury. I met him when he was hired to oversee some booklets I was to write on animals and animal behavior for a fifth grade course of study. In effect, for two years I had a private tutor in biology, before I ever took a formal course, paid by the hour (and at a good rate) by my employer. No need to feel any guilt as you consumed yet another hour of your teacher's time! I had graduated from college and was working for a curriculum company, putting together the new social sciences for fifth graders, just as the new mathematics and new physics had swept their curricula. We were generating a brand new kind of curriculum, including the latest footage on baboon behavior from East Africa, and the behavior of modern hunter-gatherers, such as the Netsilic Eskimos, and the! Kung of the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. When, after six weeks working for the company, they discovered that I knew nothing about either animals or humans (in the sense of anthropology or sociology), they assigned me to write about animals, since they cared less about that material. Dr. Drury was hired as a professional biologist to help me with references and to sign off on the quality of my booklets. He was at that time the research director at the Massachusetts Audubon Society in Lincoln, Massachusetts.

Bill Drury soon taught me that natural selection referred to individual reproductive success, and that thinking along the lines of species advantage and group selection had little going for it. He also introduced me to animal behavior and taught me many facts about the social and psychological lives of other creatures. He taught me his biases, and they were, by and large, biases I was only too happy to be taught. I was once watching a herring gull through binoculars side by side with him. In those days, a herring gull could not scratch itself without one of us asking why natural selection favored that

-56-

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Natural Selection and Social Theory: Selected Papers of Robert L. Trivers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface vii
  • Contents *
  • Natural Selection and Social Theory *
  • 1 - Reciprocal Altruism 3
  • The Evolution of Reciprocal Altruism *
  • List of Literature *
  • Postscript *
  • 2 - Parental Investment and Reproductive Success 56
  • Parental Investment and Sexual Selection 65
  • Notes *
  • References 104
  • Postscript *
  • 3 - The Trivers-Willard Effect 111
  • Natural Selection of Parental Ability to Vary the Sex Ratio of Offspring 115
  • References and Notes *
  • Postscript *
  • 4 - Parent–offspring Conflict 123
  • Parent–offspring Conflict *
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • Postscript *
  • 5 - Haplodiploidy and the Social Insects 154
  • Haplodiploidy and the Evolution of the Social Insects - The Unusual Traits of the Social Insects Are Uniquely Explained by Hamilton's Kinship Theory *
  • References and Notes *
  • Postscript 206
  • 6 - Size and Reproductive Success in a Lizard 207
  • Sexual Selection and Resource-Accruing Abilities in Anolis Garmani *
  • Literature Cited *
  • Postscript *
  • 7 - Selecting Good Genes for Daughters 241
  • Asymmetry in the Evolution of Female Mating Preferences *
  • References *
  • Postscript *
  • 8 - Self-Deception in Service of Deceit 255
  • The Crash of Flight 90 - Doomed by Self-Deception? *
  • Postscript *
  • The Elements of a Scientific Theory of Self-Deception *
  • References *
  • Postscript 293
  • 9 - Genomic Imprinting 294
  • Genetic Conflicts in Genomic Imprinting *
  • Note 306
  • References *
  • Postscript 308
  • 10 - Fluctuating Asymmetry and the 2nd: 4th Digit Ratio in Children 309
  • The 2nd: 4th Digit Ratio and Asymmetry of Hand Performance in Jamaican Children 316
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • Postscript 328
  • References 329
  • Index 335
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