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Why Sex Matters
on January 15, 2000
Why Sex Matters: A Darwinian Look at Human Behavior, by Bobbi Low, is a must read for ANYONE interested in animal behavior, human or otherwise. This is an in depth look through the eyes of an evolutionary biologist at why our world is the way it is, and more importantly, why we humans are the way we are.
With a thesis that could be subtitled: "Sex, Power and Resources," the book is principally about the ecology of sex differences - the conditions under which we predict male and female behavior to be more, and less, alike. Low points out (chapters 1-3) that  we seldom actually know the genetics of any trait, and  mostly what we do is ask: what strategies succeed reproductively in particular environments?
In chapters 4-15 she offers a tour de force of the selective pressures that have created the complex behavior of such a species as ours. The exploration of the evolutionary basis for our systems of mate selection, politics, war, cooperation, and resource accumulation make Why Sex Matters such an important book.
This book is highly readable, with dozens of tales, quotes and legends that help tie it to the heart of the human condition, but its strength is in leaving myth behind and explaining behavior through the science of ecology.
I found the book fascinating and will gladly place it on the same shelf as E.O.Wilson's, On Human Nature, Richard Dawkin's, The Blind Watchmaker, and Jared Diamond's, Guns, Germs & Steel.
Thane Maynard, Director of Education, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden