Sociobiology - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics

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The Darwinian Background

As a term the word sociobiology first appears in Principles of Animal Ecology (1949) by Warder C. Allee, Alfred E. Emerson, et al., but the subject matter is much older. In On the Origin of Species (1859), Charles Darwin argued that there is constant population pressure brought on by the fact that numbers of organisms always outstrip food and other resources. There is therefore a constant struggle for existence. Some organisms have features enabling them to better succeed in the struggle, and thus there is a natural selection of the winners over the losers. This leads to evolution, but evolution of a special kind. Selection produces and perfects features useful in the struggle—organisms have adaptations such as the hand and the eye that aid them in survival (and, even more importantly, to reproduce).

Darwin realized that behavior is as much part of an animal's repertoire in...

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This section contains 2,136 words
(approx. 8 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Sociobiology Encyclopedia Article
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Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics
Sociobiology from Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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