Robert Trivers, friends and enemies

51fjBuOLFnL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Robert Trivers is one of the giants of modern evolutionary biology, with a diverse portfolio of interests. Apparently he has an autobiography coming out in the near future, and his editors did not think it was prudent to include a chapter where he launched salvos against enemies, while praising his friends. Ron Unz has published it in unexpurgated form, Vignettes of Famous Evolutionary Biologists, Large and Small. It’s fascinating, though probably on the whole not surprising to those who have followed Trivers’ career.

I can’t help but note that much of the reflection here seems to be an elaboration of observations you can find in Natural Selection and Social Theory: Selected Papers of Robert Trivers. If you haven’t read this, do so. It’s important, and Trivers is always an interesting writer. W. D. Hamilton and George C. Williams are gone (not to mention John Maynard Smith and George R. Price). Trivers is one of the witnesses to a major revolution in our understanding of the evolution of behavior, so I’m definitely curious as to his reflections on the life he’s led.

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