Review Of "Protean Behaviour: The Biology Of Unpredictability" By P. M. Driver And D. A. Humphries

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This interesting and readable book is concerned with random, or at least unpredictable, behavior of all sorts. It presents a summary of the authors' long-term interests in a topic not treated elsewhere. The wide-ranging but somewhat shallow review includes such diverse topics as erratic pursuit strategies of predators and prey, injury feigning, color changes, complex antigens (e.g. AIDS), genetic polymorphism, and human warfare. There is no attempt at a mathematical treatment and the authors fail to find any common mechanisms or method for comparison of the diverse phenomena. It is difficult to determine the appropriate readership for this unique compendium. The writing is accessible to all students beyond the freshman year but is unlikely to have wide interest outside the behavioral sciences. The lack of serious analysis renders the book of limited use in advanced courses, the primary contribution being simply that unpredictable behavior is often favored by evolution. The production of the book is good to excellent with 24 line drawings, a bibliography, and author, species, and subject indexes.


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