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Levels of Selection in Evolution

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ISBN-13: 978-0691007045
ISBN-10: 0691007047
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Editorial Reviews


"This book is for anyone who considers himself or herself to be an 'evolutionary biologist'. It provides several wonderful reviews of topics that are currently attracting great interest and is a significant contribution to the field." -- Thomas Seeley, Cornell University --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Laurent Keller holds a START position (Swiss Talents for Academic Research and Teaching from the Swiss NSF) and is Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Ecology at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. He is known for his work on the principles governing the evolution of animal societies and the ecological and evolutionary consequences of social life. He is the editor of Queen Number and Sociality in Insects. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Series: Monographs in Behavior and Ecology
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (October 4, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691007047
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691007045
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Herbert Gintis on July 27, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A multicellular organism has specialized structures to destroy mutant cells that wildly multiply; when these structures fail, the organism suffers from possibly lethal tumors. A beehive has workers who police the behavior of other workers to ensure that work gets done and that only queens lay eggs. Without such disciplinarians, the hive would soon fail. Humans have evolved internal behavioral structures that allow us to cooperate in society, and impel us to punish non-cooperators.
All of these are instances of multilevel selection, as discussed in this fine book of essays. Some readers will be startled to find this material instead of the ancient debates over individual vs. group selection and self-interest vs. altruism---the place where the debate over multilevel selection began in the mid-1960's. The contributors are tops in their respective fields, including H. Kerne Reeve, Eors Szathmary, Richard Michod, Andrew Pomiankowski, Craig Packer, John Maynard Smith, and other equally fine biologists. Their uniting in this book shows that the group selection debate is over, at least among the knowledgeable.
I loved this book, and have spent many hours following up on the other writings of the authors, both in book and article form. This book suggests what I have long had a suspicion is the case: all of biology is sociobiology, in the sense that whenever you have organisms consisting of more than one type of cell that cooperate in making a whole, you have social mechanisms involved in mediating among the divergent interests of the individual parts, and structures emerge that more or less successfully resolve the mediation problems. Darwinian selection then operates upon these mediating structures, yet in no way different from, or even in addition to, the way selection operates on individual genes.
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Levels of Selection in Evolution
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