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Animal Behavior: An Evolutionary Approach [Paperback]

John Alcock
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Animal Behavior: An Evolutionary Approach Animal Behavior: An Evolutionary Approach 5.0 out of 5 stars (1)
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Book Description

7 April 2009 0878932259 978-0878932252 9th edition

This classic text continues to offer a balanced treatment of the underlying mechanisms and evolutionary bases of behaviour with a focus on the importance of evolutionary theory for the unification of the different behavioural disciplines. The new edition has been thoroughly rewritten with coverage of recent work in the field. 

Product details

  • Paperback: 546 pages
  • Publisher: Sinauer Associates; 9th edition edition (7 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0878932259
  • ISBN-13: 978-0878932252
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 22.2 x 26.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 177,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Book Description

This classic text offering a balanced treatment of the underlying mechanisms and evolutionary bases of behavior has been thoroughly rewritten and updated with recent work in the field

From the Publisher

Reviews and Contents

' and well developed introduction to the field of animal behaviour. Alcock's is a very engaging book.' - Animal Behaviour

'In summary, this is one of the most comprehensive textbooks on the study of behavior. Its readability is exemplary. Concepts and discoveries are presented from an evolutionary perspective and through the logic of hypothesis-testing. Students learn not only about animal behavior, but they are shown how scientists pursue knowledge.' - Quarterly Review of Biology


Evolutionary Approach to Animal Behavior

The Proximate Causes of Behavior: Analyzing Communication

Development of Behavior: Role of Genes

Development of Behavior: Role of the Environment

Control of Behavior: Neural Mechanisms

Control of Behavior: Organizing Mechanisms

Evolution of Communication: Historical Pathways

Evolution of Communication: Adaptation in Signalers and Receivers

Adaptive Responses to Predators

Adaptive Feeding Behavior

Choosing Adaptively Where to Live

Male and Female Reproductive Tactics

Evolution of Mating Systems

Adaptive Tactics of Parents

Evolution of Social Behavior

Evolution of Human Behavior --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Expensive but good 5 Nov 2010
I had to buy this book, but it really is very good and has helped me understand the course material. It's very interesting and easier to follow than other books I've looked at so if you study zoology or biology it would be a good book to buy. Couldn't find it cheaper than here (although it is still really expensive, but that's what student loans are for).
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4.0 out of 5 stars Study 18 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was bought as a gift to help a relation with their studies and she is very pleased with it
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5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful for my uni studies! 5 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I chose this rating as it includes everything I need for my animal behaviour module at university. It is extremely helpful when writing my assignments and overall an interesting read. There are plenty of pictures/diagrams to back up what is said in the text which is always good as it can help you understand something if you don't get it in the text.
I would recommend this book to any students on an animal based course/degree as said previously a big help with the study and writing side.
Very pleased with this buy :)
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book 15 Jun 2010
The book itself excellent, but the amazon did not pay ettention to the packaging (no bubble wrap protection) so the book was demaged when I received it. it was'nt the first time.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  23 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wouldn't recommend to instructors 29 Jun 2010
By Sally Kimball - Published on
I'm really unhappy with my choice of this book for my college-level animal behavior course. Each chapter lacks any overarching structure or organization, and is instead just one example after another, strung together without continuity. Case studies are ONLY useful if they complement fundamental information about the theory underlying the concept. In this textbook, the underlying concepts are presented as afterthoughts or parenthetical sidenotes (when they are presented at all). Many of the figures are informative, but a good percentage of them are also just pretty pictures that don't convey anything about the topic at hand.
Given that many students opt not to open their textbooks at all, I look to the course text as a resource the students can turn to if they don't understand something we discuss in class. I don't think this text would help clarify any of the concepts I teach, so it's not particularly useful. I will definitely be looking for a better text in the future.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best textbooks I've read. 8th ed seems a bit watered down though 21 May 2012
By Manny - Published on
I took an ethology class a few years ago and used this text. As others have said, it is very readable and contains invaluable information for biologists as it explains how and why different animal behaviors evolve. This knowledge allows one to understand the mating strategies, certain anatomical features, ecology, etc about every animal on our planet (including ourselves). My one quip regarding the book is that it seems like it's been dumbed down as the font, pictures, and margins are quite large. I feel like Alcock probably could have put more into the book, and it would have been more complete had he done so. However, for an introductory class this book does a fantastic job and offers so much that I did not receive from any other during my undergraduate study. Overall this is a highly informative and genuinely fun textbook to read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disorganized collection of anecdotes 12 Sep 2013
By Mike M. - Published on
This book is disappointing on several levels.

1) Chapters contain little-to-no organization or compartmentalization of concepts. Each chapter seems to be a series of anecdotes and descriptions of research, but the author never brings them together to outline or describe common concepts of animal behavior.

2) Pointlessly verbose and repetitive. I recognize that complex concepts require lengthy and nuanced descriptions; in addition, some material benefits from repetition (usually, rote-memorization material). However, this book contains absurdly verbose and cumbersome descriptions of relatively simple material. It honestly makes one wonder if the author was paid by the word.

3) Ineffective visual aids. Many of the photos are quite beautiful; however, almost none of them convey any information or increase the reader's comprehension. Similarly, there are lots of charts, but very few which actually present the data in an effective way.

4) Sleep-inducing writing style. Having read MANY textbooks, I'm keenly aware that none of them are real page-turners. However, this book takes "dry" to new levels of desiccation. This is probably exacerbated by issue #1 above: a dry, mechanical writing style can be forgiven, if it is used within a well-constructed chapter with very clear conceptual goals. However, within the context of multiple pages of unbroken, rambling, seemingly-undirected prose, it becomes almost unreadable.

Depending on the professor, you may have no choice but to use this book. If that's the case, budget your time accordingly: as a reader, you will have to invest a great deal of time wading through walls of text, to extract precious few nuggets of useful information.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good info 7 Aug 2013
By honest ame - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This text has a great deal of interesting information in it. I wish the editing was better, however. I had the impulse to edit it myself, then send the corrections to the publisher.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well approachable book. 21 Jun 2011
By chun - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is a very well written textbook, does not mislead readers. Chapters are well arranged with a good flow of contents. Not too sure if it's good enough for advanced ecologist/biologist, but it is a pretty good book for those that are interested with animal behaviour.
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