Monkeyluv: And Other Essays on Our Lives as Animals
Robert M. Sapolsky
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
How do imperceptibly small differences in the environment change one's behavior? What is the anatomy of a bad mood? Does stress shrink our brains? What does People magazine's list of America's "50 Most Beautiful People" teach us about nature and nurture? What makes one organism sexy to another? What makes one orgasm different from another? Who will be the winner in the genetic war between the sexes?
Welcome to Monkeyluv, a curious and entertaining collection of essays about the human animal in all its fascinating variety, from Robert M. Sapolsky, America's most beloved neurobiologist/primatologist. Organized into three sections, each tackling a Big Question in natural science, Monkeyluv offers a lively exploration of the influence of genes and the environment on behavior; the social and political -- and, of course, sexual -- implications of behavioral biology; and society's shaping of the individual. From the mating rituals of prairie dogs to the practice of religion in the rain forest, the secretion of pheromones to bugs in the brain, Sapolsky brilliantly synthesizes cutting-edge scientific research with wry, erudite observations about the enormous complexity of simply being human. Thoughtful, engaging, and infused with pop-cultural insights, this collection will appeal to the inner monkey in all of us.
numbers these guys got in some of these cases, take a strain with the uncuddly name of 129/SvEvTac, and a test in which the effects of cocaine on a mouse’s level of activity is measured. In Portland, cocaine caused these mice to increase their activity an average of 667 centimeters of movement per fifteen minutes. In Albany, an increase of 701. Pretty good—similar result. And in Edmonton? More than 5,000 centimeters of activity, by genetically identical mice in a meticulously similar environment.
Pleasure (and Pain) of ‘Maybe’,” and “Revenge Served Warm” were previously published in Natural History. “Open Season” was previously published in The New Yorker. “Genetic Hyping,” “Nursery Crimes,” and “Monkeyluv” were previously published in The Sciences. “Bugs in the Brain” was previously published in Scientific American. Visit us on the World Wide Web: http://www.SimonSays.com To l.l., k.q. f.s. Contents Author’s Note Acknowledgments Part I: Genes and Who We Are
to come with the cognitive distortion “There’re bad things out there that I can’t control, and in fact, I can’t control anything” that sets you up for depression. The biological factors coded for by genes in the nervous system don’t typically determine behavior. Instead, they influence the way you respond to the environment, and those environmental influences can be extremely subtle. Genetic vulnerabilities, tendencies, predispositions, biases…. but rarely genetic inevitabilities. It’s also
exposure—the days are getting longer—rather than temperature—the days are getting warmer. But the principle is the same.) A final, elegant version of this principle. Every cell in your body has a distinctive protein signature that marks it as belonging to you, a biochemical fingerprint. These “major histocompatability” proteins are important—this is how your immune system tells the difference between you and some invading bacteria and is why an organ transplanted into you that has a very
means is that “evolution is mostly about natural selection for different assemblages of genes” is not as accurate as thinking that “evolution is mostly about natural selection for different genetic sensitivities and responses to environmental influences.” By now, ideally, it should seem mighty difficult to separate genetic and environmental factors into neat, separate piles. Just as it should be. Sure, some cases of behaviors are overwhelmingly under genetic control. Just consider all those