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Rethinking human adaptation. Edited by R. Dyson-Hudson and M.A. Little. Boulder CO Westview Press. 1983. XII + 180 pp. figures tables references index. $20

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weight, consumption of food, and productivity over the long-term.
The next four chapters are written by anthropologists and reflect quite disparate perspectives. Wallman presents a series of
propositions concerning the concept of work.
These arose from a 1979 conference of social
anthropologists that was organized to discuss
this topic. Harris notes the “new orthodoxy”
with regard to hunter-gatherers and then examines the optimal foraging model as it applies to Aborigines in Northern Australia.
He concludes that the model appears to fit
the contemporary data despite considerable
dietary change.
The next two papers are challenges to the
validity of energetics studies as conducted by
human biologists. Richards would replace
quantitative assessment with dialogue between the investigator and the people studied. Burnham, in what must be the most
controversial paper in the book, begins with
a swipe a t H.T. Odum; continues with backhands at M. Harris, A.P. Vayda, and R. Rappaport; and ends with a long diatribe against
the IBP Andean project of P.T. Baker and
coworkers, generally, and the pioneering energy-flow work of R. Brooke Thomas, specifically.
The very next paper by Thomas et al. provides a reasoned response to Burnham, noting particularly the latter’s disregard for
what a model is and how it can be useful. In
a postscript, the authors note Burnham’s use
of early, summary sources in his critique and
express disappointment at the unrealistic expectations that he holds. They conclude with
a comment about the controversy being a
“paper confrontation” that makes the reader
wonder whether Burnham attended the conference or amended his paper subsequent
to it.
After these fireworks, Energy and Effort
concludes with two interesting papers on the
efficiency (Bayliss-Smith) and comparative
economics (Spedding) of agricultural systems. There is no summary or concluding
chapter by the editor.
This book is attractively packaged, tightly
organized, and largely free of the typographic errors that so often plague such
works. I found less than one typo per chapter.
My only and minor quibble is with the placement of figures and tables that often seemed
to be out of order with their mention in the
This book is an excellent source of references, stressing the work of European researchers. It has a great deal of how-to and
how-not-to information stored in its chapters
for those interested in human energetics research. It should have its largest market
among human ecologists and the students
they teach in anthropology, biology, geography, or any other department. Additionally, human physiologists and nutritionists
will find stimulating material of concern to
their fields. I highly recommend Energy and
Effort to those planning energetics research.
The volume is dedicated to the memory of
J.S. Weiner and stands as a fitting reminder
of his life-long productive scholarship.
Department of Anthropology
Indiana University
Bloomington, Indiana
to social equality.” The book’s one-page Introduction elaborates other such hopeful
propositions. Another is that deterministic
models cannot deal satisfactorily with a variety of fundamental biological phenomena
(several of which are touched on in this volume). As alternatives the editors suggest inThis book is a hardbound set of symposium teractive models, those which incorporate
papers. The presentations originally were de- both genetic information and lifelong envilivered a t a meeting of the American Anthro- ronmental experiences.
pological Association, the session having
Professor Dyson-Hudson’s own paper is tibeen organized by Rada Dyson-Hudson in a n tled “An Interactive Model of Human Biologattempt “. . . to reconcile the implications of ical and Behavioral Adaptation.” The author
natural selection theory with a commitment sees what the chapter presents as “. . . a
Edited by
R. Dyson-Hudson and M.A. Little. Boulder,
CO: Westview Press. 1983. xii + 180 pp.,
figures, tables, references, index. $20.00
Compare the following passage, in which I
model for the development of all human
phenotypes. . . .” Continuing, it emphasizes have substituted only the words italicized.
“. . . that these [phenotypes] must be based
not only on evolved genetic programs (those
which, as long a s the environment permits
If resistances to malaria were an
survival, provides all the information necesevolutionary trait-the unit unsary t o specify the development of a particuder selection-then it follows that,
lar phenotypic trait) but also on the
since the malaria-resistants in a
environmental information encountered dursociety exposed to malaria leave
ing the entire lifetime of the individual.”
more offspring, the frequency of
On reading the preceding statement for the
malaria-resistants in any populafirst time I found it to be innocuous enough,
tion will increase until ultimately
if rather general. But in the course of writing
the whole population becomes
this review I returned to the phrasing sevmalaria resistant. Clearly this is
eral times, and found myself increasingly
disquieted. In the end I realized that it was
in fact too general, general where specificity
is sorely needed. It simply will not fit all
The problem with Dyson-Hudson’s formuhuman phenotypes, of which there are some, lation, made clearer in my paraphrase, is a n
indeed, that are for all practical purposes overly restrictive conception of the manifold
fixed at birth-ABO blood group phenotypes, forms in which genes and environments can
for example.
interact. Directional selection leading to fixIt might be argued, in Dyson-Hudson’s sup- ation is not the only analogue available. In
port, that the main focus of her piece was in the case of the hemoglobin variants that I
any event on behavioral phenotypes. Even chose for a parallel, the facts have been
so, non-trivial problems remain. For in- worked out in sufficient detail that we know
stance, at one point (p. 16) she notes that that in some genotype-environment interac“Some writers [Ardrey, Lorenz, Tiger, and tions, complexly juxtaposed selection presE.O. Wilson] have implied that complex hu- sures can lead to the establishment and
man behaviors such a s territoriality, agres- maintenance of balanced polymorphisms.
sion, dominance, and cultural evolution, are This does not, of course, prove that domidetermined by the genes.” Obviously un- nance-type behaviors are based on closed gehappy with these ideas, the author goes so netic programs. But it does suggest that
far as to argue that “In fact, territoriality, biological and behavioral scientists should
dominance, aggression, and cultural evolu- not only repeat that old saw that “evolution
tion . . . are not behavioral traits-they were is opportunistic” but also consider its operanot units under selection during the human tional implications.
This volume contains seven other chapters:
evolutionary past.” This opinion may be as
correct as it is popular. However, the position “Evolutionary Ecology and the Analysis of
is not supported by the specific argument Human Social Behavior” by Eric Alden
that the author advances, for example, on Smith; “Nutrition and High Altitude Adaptation . . .” by Jere D. Haas; “Evolutionary
the subject of dominance.
Biology and the Human Secondary Sex Ratio
. . .” by Mary Jane Kellum; “Noble Family
Structure and Expansionist Warfare in the
If dominance were a n evolutionLate Middle Ages . . .’, by James L. Boone;
ary trait-the unit under selec“Woman Capture a s a Motivation for Wartion-then it follows that, since
fare . . .” by James Dow; “Mobility as a Negthe dominants in a n hierarchiative Factor in Human Adaptability . . .’, by
cally organized society leave more
Emilio F. Moran; and “An Overview of Adoffspring, the frequency of domiaptation” by Michael A. Little. Constraints
nants in any population will inof space and my detailed comments on the
crease until ultimately the whole
keynote paper by the collection’s organizing
population becomes dominant.
editor preclude comment on these other conClearly this is impossible.
tributions, several of which are of substantial merit. I must note in conclusion that the
book’s great diversity of focus, typographed
format, and its high price ($20.00, or 10.4
cents per page) could, I fear, tempt many
potential readers into the illegalities of xerographic reproduction.
Edited by C.T.
Snowdon, C.H. Brown, and M.R. Petersen.
New York: Cambridge University Press. xx
+ 444 pp., figures, tables, references, indices. $39.50 (cloth).
Is nonhuman primate communication primarily a reflexive expression of the actor’s
emotional state? Are there semantic elements and syntactic properties in nonhuman
primate vocalizations? Did the design features of communicative behaviors evolve in
response to environmental or social factors?
This book addresses these and other questions by focusing on naturally occurring
behavior rather than special training techniques and artificial “languages.” The volume grew out of a symposium held at the
VIIIth Congress of the International Primatological Society in 1980. The scope of the
volume is somewhat less than the title suggests. Of the 16 chapters, ten concern the
vocal/auditory mode in New World or Old
World monkeys. Only two deal with apes and
none cover prosimians. Two deal with visual
communication and four with olfaction. However, the papers present a diversity of new
questions about primate communication,
provide new techniques and research strategies, and give new findings. The emphasis on
vocalizations is clearly related to technological advances. Compared to other modalities,
for example vision as examined in the chapters by Chevalier-Skolnikoff and Bielert, the
physical properties of sound signals can be
more precisely specified and experimentally
The editors have provided a general introduction and a n introduction to each of the
five sections. These focus the issues covered,
summarize each chapter’s main contribution, and integrate the results of different
The first section covers affective and social
aspects of primate communication and con-
Department of Anthropology
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, Pennsylvania
tains innovative experimental and technical
approaches. Gautier and Gautier-Hion use
throat microphones and radio-transmitters to
identify individual vocalizers in a group of
Cercopithecus monkeys and to assess the vocal repertoire of different agehex classes.
They hypothesize that role differences in vocal behavior will correlate with social complexity. Smith, Newman, and Symmes use
individual differences in the “chuck” call of
squirrel monkeys to identify the caller and
show that the call is directed a t specific social
partners. In squirrel monkeys, it is known
that brain stimulation at specific sites will
elicit specific calls. By allowing subjects to
control the amount of stimulation at different sites, Jiirgens measures the “hedonic
state” accompanying calls and then classifies
calls two-dimensionally on the basis of “hedonic state” and acoustical patterns. Jurgens
and Smith, Newman, and Symmes apparently use different names for the same call
(“chuck” and c‘cluck’’?),and their differences
in the interpretation of the call are not
The second section covers social and environmental determinants of vocalizations. The
chapters by Waser and by Robinson also discuss the degree to which the sender’s identity
is encoded in calls. Waser shows that male
loud calls of mangabeys and baboons encode
the caller’s identity more clearly in habitats
where visibility is poor. He finds that social
factors are more important than environmental ones in the variability between species in call form and in responses to calls.
Brown’s experiments show that some of the
call features which increase “detectability”
are the same as those which other studies
(e.g., Snowdon’s)have shown to have semantic significance. Deputte’s chapter on antiphonal duetting in gibbons delineates
sequential patterning of these “songs” which
have analogs to syntactic rules.
Similarities between primate vocal communication and human linguistic and para-
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