Article ID: CBB982680006

Animal Behavior, Population Biology and the Modern Synthesis (1955–1985) (2019)


This paper examines the history of animal behavior studies after the synthesis period. Three episodes are considered: the adoption of the theory of natural selection, the mathematization of ideas, and the spread of molecular methods in behavior studies. In these three episodes, students of behavior adopted practices and standards developed in population ecology and population genetics. While they borrowed tools and methods from these fields, they made distinct uses (inclusive fitness method, evolutionary theory of games, emphasis on individual selection) that set them relatively apart and led them to contribute, in their own way, to evolutionary theory. These episodes also highlight some limitations of “conjunction narratives” centered on the relation between a discipline and the modern synthesis. A trend in conjunction narratives is to interpret any development related to evolution in a discipline as an “extension,” an “integration,” or as a “delayed” synthesis. I here suggest that this can lead to underestimate discontinuities in the history of evolutionary biology.

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Article Philippe Huneman (2019) Special Issue Editor’s Introduction: “Revisiting the Modern Synthesis”. Journal of the History of Biology (pp. 509-518). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Wade, Michael J.
Allen, Colin
Gliboff, Sander
Echeverria, Begona
Thompson, Paul
Alcock, John
Journal of the History of Biology
Archives of Natural History
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Oxford University Press
Indiana University
University of California, Riverside
Population ecology
Population genetics
Discipline formation
Modern Synthesis (biology)
Natural selection
Mayr, Ernst
Burkitt, James Parsons
Cole, Lamont C.
Trahiotis, Constantine
Glass, Bentley
Müller, Hermann Joseph
Time Periods
20th century, late
20th century
20th century, early
21st century
19th century
18th century
United States
Northern Ireland
University of Chicago

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