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Sociobiology

Sociobiology is a field of scientific study which is based on the assumption that social behavior has resulted from evolution and attempts to explain and examine social behavior within that context.

Often considered a branch of biology and sociology, it also draws from ethology, anthropology, evolution, zoology, archaeology, population genetics, and other disciplines.

Within the study of human societies, sociobiology is very closely allied to the fields of Darwinian anthropology, human behavioral ecology and evolutionary psychology.

Sociobiology investigates social behaviors, such as mating patterns, territorial fights, pack hunting, and the hive society of social insects.

It argues that just as selection pressure led to animals evolving useful ways of interacting with the natural environment, it led to the genetic evolution of advantageous social behavior.

While the term "sociobiology" can be traced to the 1940s, the concept didn't gain major recognition until 1975 with the publication of Edward O.

Wilson's book, Sociobiology: The New Synthesis.

The new field quickly became the subject of heated controversy.

Criticism, most notably made by Richard Lewontin and Stephen Jay Gould, centered on sociobiology's contention that genes play an ultimate role in human behavior and that traits such as aggressiveness can be explained by biology rather than a person's social environment.

Sociobiologists generally responded to the criticism by pointing to the complex relationship between nature and nurture.

In response to some of the potentially factious implications sociobiology had for human biodiversity, anthropologist John Tooby and psychologist Leda Cosmides founded the field of evolutionary psychology.

Note: This article excerpts material from the Wikipedia article "Sociobiology", which is released under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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