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The Female Animal Hardcover – June, 1988

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Why were females chosen by evolution to be the more parenting sex in most species of insects, reptiles, birds and mammals? Among bees and wasps, notes Elia, intensified female care for the young correlates with greater mutual help within the colony. Proceeding from the courtship of fishes through crocodiles' cooperative parenting to the chimpanzee mother's fierce attachment to her children, the British author, a physical anthropologist, argues that natural selection rewarded the mothering instinct by giving nurturant individuals keener intelligence and greater control over their reproductive success. When she gets to the early hominid female, Elia adds a feminist twist. In her scenario, the female, aware that intercourse during her fertile period causes pregnancy, shared this secret with the male by deliberately prolonging her sexual receptivity. Women bought male protection through fidelity, but, in so doing, they became the chattel and property of men. Elia's graceful writing propels the reader through a surprising, technical tour of the animal kingdom.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

$19.45. biology Over 200 million years ago, a momentous "solution" evolved and females were left holding the embryo. According to physical anthropologist Elia, this small step "astronomically accelerated mammalian females in the direction of mothering." Reviewing sophisticated biological processes, Elia summarizes the evolution of animals and their various reproductive and parenting strategies. The Evolution of Life ( LJ 2/15/87) and Mark Jerome Walters's The Dance of Life ( LJ 12/87) surveyed this topic well, though not from the female point of view. Elia's thesis of how mothering evolved and how it came to be associated with females is fascinating. Her arguments are cogently and engagingly presented for students and lay readers with some science background. Laurie Bartolini, Lincoln Lib., Springfield, Ill.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.


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