What We Can and Can't Learn about Sex from Animals
By (author) Marlene Zuk
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Sexual Selections by Marlene Zuk
Book DescriptionScientific discoveries about the animal kingdom fuel ideological battles on many fronts, especially battles about sex and gender. We now know that male marmosets help take care of their offspring. Is this heartening news for today's stay-at-home dads? Recent studies show that many female birds once thought to be monogamous actually have chicks that are fathered outside the primary breeding pair. Does this information spell doom for traditional marriages? And bonobo apes take part in female-female sexual encounters. Does this mean that human homosexuality is natural? This highly provocative book clearly shows that these are the wrong kinds of questions to ask about animal behavior. Marlene Zuk, a respected biologist and a feminist, gives an eye-opening tour of some of the latest developments in our knowledge of animal sexuality and evolutionary biology. "Sexual Selections" exposes the anthropomorphism and gender politics that have colored our understanding of the natural world and shows how feminism can help move us away from our ideological biases. As she tells many amazing stories about animal behavior - whether of birds and apes or of rats and cockroaches - Zuk takes us to the places where our ideas about nature, gender, and culture collide. Writing in an engaging, conversational style, she discusses such politically charged topics as motherhood, the genetic basis for adultery, the female orgasm, menstruation, and homosexuality. She shows how feminism can give us the tools to examine sensitive issues such as these and to enhance our understanding of the natural world if we avoid using research to champion a feminist agenda and avoid using animals as ideological weapons. Zuk passionately asks us to learn to see the animal world on its own terms, with its splendid array of diversity and variation. This knowledge will give us a better understanding of animals and can ultimately change our assumptions about what is natural, normal, and even possible.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780520240759
(229mm x 152mm x 17mm)
Imprint: University of California Press
Publisher: University of California Press
Publish Date: 27-Jun-2003
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Marlene Zuk
Paleofantasy, Paperback (March 2014)
"With ... evidence from recent genetic and anthropological research, [Zuk] offers a dose of paleoreality."-Erin Wayman, Science News
Sex on Six Legs, Hardback (August 2011)
Insects have inspired fear, fascination, and enlightenment for centuries. They are capable of complex behaviour, even with brains often the size of a poppy seed. How do they accomplish feats that look like human activity - personality, language, childcare - with completely different pathways from our own? This title deals with this topic.
Riddled with Life, Paperback (May 2008)» View all books by Marlene Zuk
We treat disease as our enemy, and germs and infections as things we battle. But what if we've been giving them a bum rap? This book makes us rethink our instincts as it argues that disease is our partner, not our foe.
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Author Biography - Marlene Zuk
Marlene Zuk is Professor of Biology at the University of California, Riverside, and coeditor, with J.E. Loye, of Bird-Parasite Interactions: Ecology, Evolution, and Behaviour (1991).
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