This concise but thorough study of courtship behavior in fish, birds, and arthropods is the first rigorous examination of the evolutionary origins and mechanisms of courtship and its contribution to biological success. Demonstrating the fruitfulness of an empirically based, inductive approach to understanding courtship, the book also explains clearly how principles of modern evolutionary theory can be successfully employed in studying behavior.
The author describes many observations and experiments that have not previously appeared outside specialized journals and brings an abundance of simple yet accurate examples of animal behavior to bear on explanations of ethological concepts and evolutionary theory. No attempt is made to skim over the gaps of knowledge apparent in the study of behavior evolution; rather, the author discusses the limitations and difficulties of different approaches, critically reviews the deductions that can be and have been made from them, and tries to present enough evidence on controversial points for the reader himself to judge the validity of specific arguments.
Indicating how ethological method, firmly based on biological principles, can intensively investigate and illuminate a single area of animal behavior, the book will be valuable to students and professionals in zoology, animal behavior, and experimental psychology.
Margaret Bastock studied zoology at Oxford from 1946 to 1949 and became a zoology tutor at and, later, a Fellow of St. Anne's College, Oxford. She worked for her Ph.D. under Professor N. Tinbergen and through him became acquainted with the work of the chief ethologists in Europe and the United States. Her original work has concentrated on the inheritance and organization of behavior in insects, and her principal interests include all aspects of animal behavior, genetics, and evolution.