BIO318Y5 Lecture Notes - Sociobiology, Biological Determinism, Demographic Transition

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Published on 7 Apr 2014
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BIO318 Lecture 21
- Last day: plants can assess their environments to
oIncrease chemical defences when eavesdropping on the “chemical screams” of
other species
o“call in” enemies of their own natural enemies
oAssess operational sex ratios to adaptively adjust their own sex ratios
(monoecious species)
oWhen detecting close kin neighbours, restrain their own “competitive root
expansion”
- Selective thinking
o“No theory about anything extrinsic in the universe will ever hold so much intrigue
or encounter as much resistance as a theory about ourselves” R.D. Alexander
- D. Gwynne’s ancestral fertility
oMore than 50% drop in fertility rate (from 7 offsprings to about 2-3)
- “the demographic transition”
oSame trend is going on around the world
oFirst decade in last century started dropping by more than half to present day
oCorrelates with industrial revolution
- Are our modern environments so different from those of our ancestral hunter/gatherer
ancestors that much of our behaviour is no longer adaptive?
- An example of recent selection
oIn monogamous populations in Finland (1760-1849)
oMost of the opportunity for selection = survival to adulthood and offspring –
production success (fertility)
oVariance in mating success contributed more to reproductive success in males
than females
o(HOW did they estimate male mating success?)
- Graph of relationship between number of marriages and number of children in males
and females
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Document Summary

Selective thinking: no theory about anything extrinsic in the universe will ever hold so much intrigue or encounter as much resistance as a theory about ourselves r. d. D. gwynne"s ancestral fertility: more than 50% drop in fertility rate (from 7 offsprings to about 2-3) The demographic transition : same trend is going on around the world, first decade in last century started dropping by more than half to present day, correlates with industrial revolution. Using an evolutionary ( natural ) understanding of human nature to inform how humans should behave: e. o wilson (of sociobiology fame) example. Male should go out to find extra mates to increase fitness; it doesn"t have anything to say about morality. Understanding how we are, and not how we"re supposed to be. Moore principia ethica (1903)): is does not equal ought: valid empirical research are trying to understand rape.

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