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The Imitation Factor: Evolution Beyond the Gene by Lee Alan Dugatkin.

DESCRIPTION: Hardcover: 243 pages. Publisher: The Free Press; (2000).Is imitation really the best compliment? As Lee Alan Dugatkin's powerful work of cutting-edge science reveals, imitation is the most profound compliment you can give anyone. It might last for millions of years. An acclaimed biologist, Dugatkin has identified and mapped the effects of a powerful, overlooked, and deceptively simple factor in evolutionary history. He shows how the imitation of one individual by another, in any species, is an essential and fundamental natural force that has enabled the growth of animal and human societies. Previously inexplicable animal behaviors become comprehensible in the light of Dugatkin's research: How can one group of monkeys all learn to use a new tool in one generation? There is no time for genetic evolution to achieve this, but the social system enabled by imitation manages it easily.

Dugatkin also investigates the way we, and other species, select mates. Why do tiny sailfin molly fish have sex with another species? The somewhat disturbing truth is, simply, to impress the ladies. There can be no purely genetic, standard Darwinian explanation for it. Such fishy sex isn't all in the genes. Humans and animals alike do things because they see others doing them; in this way fashions, traditions, and customs eventually emerge. Indeed, Dugatkin's astonishing point is that the imitation factor has led to the development in animals of education and culture. This fact has changed the course of evolutionary history.

Dugatkin draws on a wide range of his own and others' research into the behavior of fish, birds, whales, and humans to reveal the failure of genetic determination to explain mating behavior and the fundamental process of learning. As we watch people become popular and find ourselves attracted to them, we are doing nothing more than what animals have been doing for eons. Dugatkin follows the course of imitation as it leads to teaching and reveals that the mechanics of "animal education" built the species-wide phenomenon known in our own society as civilization. An original, brilliant, and lucid presentation of a profound new idea in evolutionary science, The Imitation Factor will have an enduring impact on the way we understand life on earth, and ourselves.

CONDITION: NEW (albeit "remaindered", or surplus). New hardcover w/dustjacket. The Free Press (2000) 243 pages. Unblemished, unmarked, pristine in every respect EXCEPT that there is a black remainder mark (drawn with a black marker) on the bottom surface of the closed page edges indicating that the book was unsold surplus inventory). The mark is not visible of course on individual opened pages, only to the mass of closed page edges. The book is otherwise pristine, both inside and out. Pages are clean, crisp, (otherwise) unmarked, unmutilated, tightly bound, unambiguously unread. Condition is entirely consistent with a new (albeit "remaindered", or surplus) book from a bookstore environment wherein new books might show minute (virtually imperceptible) signs of shelfwear, consequence of simply being shelved and re-shelved. Satisfaction unconditionally guaranteed. In stock, ready to ship. No disappointments, no excuses. PROMPT SHIPPING! HEAVILY PADDED, DAMAGE-FREE PACKAGING! #905.

PLEASE SEE IMAGES BELOW FOR JACKET DESCRIPTION(S) AND FOR PAGES OF PICTURES FROM INSIDE OF BOOK.

PLEASE SEE PUBLISHER, PROFESSIONAL, AND READER REVIEWS BELOW.

PUBLISHER REVIEW:

REVIEW: Dugatkin provides creative insight into still another link between humans and animals: the passing down of knowledge through imitation. Lee Alan Dugatkin writes a monthly science column for the Louisville Courier-Journal, and has written for Scientific American, BioScience, and many other popular and academic journals. He is an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Louisville.

PROFESSIONAL REVIEWS:

REVIEW: Dugatkin, biologist and science writer, spares the reader what he calls "the nasty mathematics" backing up his findings but provides a fascinating look at how the act of imitating affects evolution and culture. He offers interesting examples to prove theories on sexual and mating habits of barn swallows, scorpion flies, stalk-eyed flies, guppies, and humans as they imitate the behavior of others of their species and, thereby, transmit physical and cultural traits. Dugatkin reviews scientific findings from various disciplines and brings them together in a coherent picture of how humans and animals use the fundamental act of imitating to learn and adapt. Despite the human tendency to flatter ourselves that we're superior to animals, Dugatkin demonstrates how our behavior is quite similar to animals in the act of imitation and its value in transmitting culture and survival skills. Over millions of years, animals and humans have habitually imitated the behavior of those most successful at mating or hunting (or otherwise providing) thus preserving their species and guaranteeing survival. This is a very accessible, even entertaining, look at human and animal behavior and evolution.

REVIEW: The dominant paradigm in evolutionary biology asserts that genes are responsible for virtually all manifestations of animal behavior while the environment plays a small role. In a thoroughly engaging, accessible manner, Dugatkin, professor of biology at the University of Louisville, challenges "that assumption by presenting the case that cultural transmission and gene-culture interactions are serious, underestimated forces in evolutionary biology." He analyzes a broad array of behavioral studies conducted by himself, his students and many other scientists to demonstrate that animals imitate each other regularly, learn new behaviors from this mimesis and even engage in activities that are best called teaching. By presenting behavioral examples of simple and complex animals ranging from guppies to macaques, from blackbirds to humans, he proves that large brains are not a prerequisite for imitation. Even more important, Dugatkin establishes these actions as constituents of culture, which many scientists limit to humans. Dugatkin explains scientific method superbly and conveys the thrill of designing an ingenious experiment. His theories and supporting evidence will inspire even the most skeptical readers to rethink humans' place in the animal kingdom. Anyone interested in the nature/culture debate will learn something new from Dugatkin.

REVIEW: Dugatkin (professor of biology at the University of Louisville) turns the troubled concept of cultural Darwinism upside down by asking not how biological evolution affects culture but how culture affects biological evolution--specifically, in how living organisms select their mates. According to his research among species as simple as guppies and as complex as human beings, organisms tend to choose mates by observing the kinds of mates that others choose, then looking for similar characteristics in their own. Individual reproductive success may be enhanced by imitating others, but at a broader level, the impact that this may have upon whole cultures is a fertile area for future study. So much theory in evolutionary biology over the last 20 years has focused on reductionist genetics that this perspective will be welcome to readers of popular science. The text is very readable although somewhat breezy when the author writes in the first person. Like Susan Blackmore's “The Meme Machine”, this book deals with a new area of scientific research for general readers and is an important addition for public and undergraduate libraries. Dugatkin's influential research in this area has received major coverage in the media, including the New York Times and Scientific American.

REVIEW: Everyone knows "monkey see, monkey do," but how many of us reflect on the proverb's consequences? Biologist Lee Alan Dugatkin asks just how different animals can be from humans if they engage, as they seem to, in cultural transmission of behavior. Long thought to be one of the last barriers between H. sapiens and the rest of the family, imitation can be found even in fish--and Dugatkin's book, “The Imitation Factor: Evolution Beyond the Gene”, explores the research on the subject and its implications. His straightforward, accessible style serves him and the reader well. Though there are no tough equations or metaphysical concepts to bar the way to understanding, the delicacy of behavioral research can be tricky to communicate properly. Summarizing his points, he says: “The zoological work on cultural evolution reveals strange and even amazing facts about animals no matter how large or small their brains are--indeed, some just barely have what we can call a brain. The actions of a few individuals, or even just a single one, can dramatically shift the evolutionary future of a particular population fundamentally because individuals are keen copiers.” The author presents his own and others' research into imitative learning and makes a compelling case for its ubiquity. He suggests that a vast range of behavioral science is hampered by its reliance on biological (especially genetic) explanations, and that researchers would do well to sift more carefully between nature and nurture. It's an intriguing notion, and makes “The Imitation Factor” well worth reading.

READER REVIEWS:

REVIEW: This is a fascinating, readable, and important book about what may be the greatest of all human skills, and is certainly our most fundamental, our ability to imitate. We humans are so good at imitation that we have overlooked both its difficulty and its crucial role in evolution. Lee Dugatkin sets this right with his thorough and readable investigation. Dugatkin's superb book on imitation and culture leaves the tired arguments about nature vs. nurture in the dust. His thinking is original, his experiments ingenious, and his writing lucid and engaging. It is a deeply thought-provoking read.

REVIEW: This is a wonderful book - clearly written, authoritative, up-to-date, and fun. I recommend it to all people interested not only in the study of animal (and human) behavior, but also to those who want a good read about what researchers are up to. Dugatkin is a first-class biologist and a great writer with a good sense of humor.

I always ship books Media Mail in a padded mailer. This book is shipped FOR FREE via USPS INSURED media mail (“book rate”). All domestic shipments and most international shipments will include free USPS Delivery Confirmation (you might be able to update the status of your shipment on-line at the USPS Web Site and free insurance coverage). A small percentage of international shipments may require an additional fee for tracking and/or delivery confirmation. If you are concerned about a little wear and tear to the book in transit, I would suggest a boxed shipment - it is an extra $1.00. Whether via padded mailer or box, we will give discounts for multiple purchases. International orders are welcome, but shipping costs are substantially higher.

Most international orders cost an additional $9.99 to $37.99 for an insured shipment in a heavily padded mailer, and typically includes some form of rudimentary tracking and/or delivery confirmation (though for some countries, this is only available at additional cost). There is also a discount program which can cut postage costs by 50% to 75% if you’re buying about half-a-dozen books or more (5 kilos+). Rates and available services vary a bit from country to country. You can email or message me for a shipping cost quote, but I assure you they are as reasonable as USPS rates allow, and if it turns out the rate is too high for your pocketbook, we will cancel the sale at your request. ADDITIONAL PURCHASES do receive a VERY LARGE discount, typically about $5 per book (for each additional book after the first) so as to reward you for the economies of combined shipping/insurance costs. Your purchase will ordinarily be shipped within 48 hours of payment. We package as well as anyone in the business, with lots of protective padding and containers.

All of our shipments are sent via insured mail so as to comply with PayPal requirements. We do NOT recommend uninsured shipments, and expressly disclaim any responsibility for the loss of an uninsured shipment. Unfortunately the contents of parcels are easily “lost” or misdelivered by postal employees – even in the USA. That’s why all of our domestic shipments (and most international) shipments include a USPS delivery confirmation tag; or are trackable or traceable, and all shipments (international and domestic) are insured. We do offer U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail, Registered Mail, and Express Mail for both international and domestic shipments, as well United Parcel Service (UPS) and Federal Express (Fed-Ex). Please ask for a rate quotation. We will accept whatever payment method you are most comfortable with. If upon receipt of the item you are disappointed for any reason whatever, I offer a no questions asked return policy. Send it back, I will give you a complete refund of the purchase price (less our original shipping costs).

Most of the items I offer come from the collection of a family friend who was active in the field of Archaeology for over forty years. However many of the items also come from purchases I make in Eastern Europe, India, and from the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean/Near East) from various institutions and dealers. Though I have always had an interest in archaeology, my own academic background was in sociology and cultural anthropology. After my retirement however, I found myself drawn to archaeology as well. Aside from my own personal collection, I have made extensive and frequent additions of my own via purchases on (of course), as well as many purchases from both dealers and institutions throughout the world – but especially in the Near East and in Eastern Europe. I spend over half of my year out of the United States, and have spent much of my life either in India or Eastern Europe. In fact much of what we generate on Yahoo, Amazon and goes to support The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, as well as some other worthy institutions in Europe connected with Anthropology and Archaeology.

I acquire some small but interesting collections overseas from time-to-time, and have as well some duplicate items within my own collection which I occasionally decide to part with. Though I have a collection of ancient coins numbering in the tens of thousands, my primary interest is in ancient jewelry. My wife also is an active participant in the "business" of antique and ancient jewelry, and is from Russia. I would be happy to provide you with a certificate/guarantee of authenticity for any item you purchase from me. There is a $2 fee for mailing under separate cover. Whenever I am overseas I have made arrangements for purchases to be shipped out via domestic mail. If I am in the field, you may have to wait for a week or two for a COA to arrive via international air mail. But you can be sure your purchase will arrive properly packaged and promptly - even if I am absent. And when I am in a remote field location with merely a notebook computer, at times I am not able to access my email for a day or two, so be patient, I will always respond to every email. Please see our "ADDITIONAL TERMS OF



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