Dancing Cockatoos and the Dead Man Test: How Behavior Evolves and Why It Matters

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It's time to leave behind the tired nature-versus-nurture debate. In Dancing Cockatoos and the Dead Man Test, Marlene Zuk asks a more fascinating question: How does behavior evolve, and how is that process similar--and different--in people and animals?

Drawing from a wealth of research, including her own on insects, she explores how genes and the environment work together to produce cockatoos that dance to rock music and ants that heal their injured companions. She follows the different paths cats and dogs took to living with humans, and asks whether bees are domestic animals. In exploring intelligence, mating behavior, and fighting disease, Zuk turns to smart spiders, silent crickets, and crafty crows. She shows how neither our behavior nor that of other animals is dictated solely by genes, and that animal behavior can be remarkably similar to human behavior and wonderfully complicated in its own right.