The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, Volumes 1-2

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Princeton University Press, 1871 - Science - 475 pages
24 Reviews

In the current resurgence of interest in the biological basis of animal behavior and social organization, the ideas and questions pursued by Charles Darwin remain fresh and insightful. This is especially true of The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, Darwin's second most important work. This edition is a facsimile reprint of the first printing of the first edition (1871), not previously available in paperback.

The work is divided into two parts. Part One marshals behavioral and morphological evidence to argue that humans evolved from other animals. Darwin shoes that human mental and emotional capacities, far from making human beings unique, are evidence of an animal origin and evolutionary development. Part Two is an extended discussion of the differences between the sexes of many species and how they arose as a result of selection. Here Darwin lays the foundation for much contemporary research by arguing that many characteristics of animals have evolved not in response to the selective pressures exerted by their physical and biological environment, but rather to confer an advantage in sexual competition. These two themes are drawn together in two final chapters on the role of sexual selection in humans.

In their Introduction, Professors Bonner and May discuss the place of The Descent in its own time and relation to current work in biology and other disciplines.

  

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Review: The Descent of Man

User Review  - Matthew Paluch - Goodreads

Absolutely brilliant, absolutely difficult to read. Read full review

Review: The Descent of Man

User Review  - Josh Brown - Goodreads

5 stars for the part about why/how humans evolved from other species. 1 star for the part that is just scattershot armchair anthropology so embarrassingly laced with culturally conditioned presuppositions Darwin seems to have thought were scientific. Read full review

Contents

PART I THE DESCENT OF MAN
9
CHAPTER II COMPARISON OF THE MENTAL POWERS OF MAN AND THE LOWER ANIMALS
34
CHAPTER III COMPARISON OF THE MENTAL POWERS OF MAN AND THE LOWER ANIMALS continued
70
CHAPTER IV ON THE MANNER OF DEVELOPMENT OF MAN FROM SOME LOWER FORM
107
CHAPTER V ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE INTELLECTUAL AND MORAL FACULTIES DURING PRIMEVAL AND CIVILISED TIMES
158
CHAPTER VI ON THE AFFINITIES AND GENEALOGY OF MAN
185
CHAPTER VII ON THE RACES OF MAN
214
PART II SEXUAL SELECTION
253
CHAPTER XIII SECONDARY SEXUAL CHARACTERS OF BIRDS
38
CHAPTER XIV BIRDS continued
99
CHAPTER XV BIRDS continued
154
CHAPTER XVI BIRDS concluded
183
CHAPTER XVII SECONDARY SEXUAL CHARACTERS OF MAMMALS
239
CHAPTER XVIII SECONDARY SEXUAL CHARACTERS OF MAMMALS continued
274
CHAPTER XIX SECONDARY SEXUAL CHARACTERS OF MAN
316
CHAPTER XX SECONDARY SEXUAL CHARACTERS OF MAN continued
355

CHAPTER IX SECONDARY SEXUAL CHARACTERS IN THE LOWER CLASSES OF THE ANIMAL KINGDOM
321
CHAPTER X SECONDARY SEXUAL CHARACTERS OF INSECTS
341
CHAPTER XI INSECTS continued ORDER LEPIDOPTERA
386
CHAPTER XII SECONDARY SEXUAL CHARACTERS OF FISHES AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES
1
CHAPTER XXI GENERAL SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
385
INDEX
406
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About the author (1871)

Charles Robert Darwin, born in 1809, was an English naturalist who founded the theory of Darwinism, the belief in evolution as determined by natural selection. Although Darwin studied medicine at Edinburgh University, and then studied at Cambridge University to become a minister, he had been interested in natural history all his life. His grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, was a noted English poet, physician, and botanist who was interested in evolutionary development. Darwin's works have had an incalculable effect on all aspects of the modern thought. Darwin's most famous and influential work, On the Origin of Species, provoked immediate controversy. Darwin's other books include Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle, The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. Charles Darwin died in 1882.

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