ANIMAL COOPERATION: A Look at Sociobiology by Hallie Black

ANIMAL COOPERATION: A Look at Sociobiology

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Sociobiologists, Black explains on page one, ""believe that everything an animal does in its social life serves a purpose for survival. . . . They believe, too, that patterns of social life are inherited by each animal species just as is eye color or body shape."" To illustrate this concept, Black points out the survival value of specific examples of cooperative group behavior--in vicuna, African wild dogs, lions, elephants, dolphins, baboons, and chimpanzees. An introduction to sociobiology that deals only with examples of cooperation and altruistic behavior and ignores aggression and territoriality has to be seen as deceptively skewed. Otherwise, this is well balanced: the examples support and clarify the sociobiologists' views; another chapter presents ""another side to the story,"" noting exceptions, criticisms, and examples of flexibility in animal behavior; and a final chapter on ""human behavior"" emphasizes human flexibility, learning, and cultural variations. A very selective sampling, then, of both animal behavior and the material of sociobiology, but a thought-provoking introduction to some of the issues the movement has raised.

Pub Date: May 6th, 1981
Publisher: Morrow