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Woman That Never Evolved


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About the Author

Sarah Blaffer Hrdy is Professor Emerita of Anthropology at the University of California, Davis.


This is a splendid book. It is a scientific treatise on primate sex and status, successfully masquerading as a good read. -- Alison Jolly * American Scientist *
The bulk of the book represents an attempt to create a perspective on the evolutionary biology of women by evaluating their female primate heritage. These chapters are original, high quality formulations presenting and explaining the behavior of female primates using a combination of sociobiological and socioecological principles of analysis...The book is written toward a borderline between the scientific and the popular audience--not an easy thing to do--but, by and large, Hrdy does just that. For this reason, the book has a place in both research and teaching. -- Jane B. Lancaster * American Journal of Physical Anthropology *
It is an understatement to say that this is a provocative essay. Although the book is written for a general audience, it will compel specialists to reconsider many of their assumptions about the evolution of primate females. Those interested in evolutionary influences upon human social behavior will be stimulated and challenged. Undoubtedly, many of the hypotheses will be controversial, and some may be disturbing. -- Joan B. Silk * Ethnology and Sociology *
In its treatment of primate behavior, Hrdy's book has no peers...[It is] a fascinating account of the selective pressures that have shaped the behavior of males and females. -- Dorothy Cheney * Science *
[A] breakthrough book...A primatologist by training and feminist by predilection, Hrdy asked the basic and in my mind perfectly sensible question: How do women compare to other female primates? What can we understand about our urges, desires, and fears, our sexuality, our relationships with men and with other women, and the near universality of women's second-class status, by examining the lives and loves of our closest nonhuman kin? Among Hrdy's many bracing conclusions: Far from being coy and sexually tepid, as the stereotype has it, women may well have evolved for a restless sort of promiscuity, the better to confuse issues of paternity and thus heighten their children's chances of survival in the hazardous, half-cocked company of men. -- Natalie Angier * O Magazine *

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