Cover: More than Kin and Less than Kind: The Evolution of Family Conflict, from Harvard University PressCover: More than Kin and Less than Kind in PAPERBACK

More than Kin and Less than Kind

The Evolution of Family Conflict

Add to Cart

Product Details


$30.00 • £24.95 • €27.00

ISBN 9780674022485

Publication Date: 09/30/2006


288 pages

21 halftones

Belknap Press


Mock has a lively and engaging style, and the skill to explain complex ideas from kin selection and related fields intelligibly without being patronizing… Mock has done a superb job in bringing a large area of contemporary behavioural ecology to both a biological and a general audience… It deserves to be read by everyone interested in the evolution of family life.—Charles Godfray, Nature

As Mock shows, storks, pigs, seals, and other creatures give people a run for their money when it comes to competition. Within families at least, people are usually less aggressive and perhaps more shrewd than animals in getting what they want, but all the species Mock examines are competitive when it comes to fulfilling needs and desires… Mock considers…aspects of the family dynamic through a wealth of scientific studies and anecdotal evidence as he redefines the evolutionary limits of selfishness among species.Science News

Douglas Mock’s engaging volume assimilates the vast literature on altruism but concentrates on the more traditional analysis of conflict… Mock’s monograph demonstrates triumphantly that field studies are still a vibrant part of evolutionary biology. He is equally entertaining about his own field studies and those of others engaged in testing in the field the models of theoretical evolutionary biology… Mock’s is one of those soughtafter books in science, a work of popularisation and a thoughtful synthesis of an important discipline.—W. F. Bynum, The Times Higher Education Supplement

Through the use of splendid examples, from rosewood pollen to penguins to premedical students, this well-written and entertaining book provides an excellent introduction to the evolution of family conflict… [Mock] details the theory and natural history of sibling rivalry across a broad sweep of animals and plants to illustrate ways in which the simple mathematical relationship called Hamilton’s rule links the benefits and costs of seemingly altruistic or selfish behavior to the degree of relatedness between individuals. Countless examples display what scientists have learned about family strife in the natural world by documenting how the powerful forces of cooperation and competition shape all interactions in the family arena, and can turn close kin into deadly rivals.—K. A. Campbell, Choice

Siblings and parents do some very strange and dramatic things to one another. In this fine book about a fascinating subject, Doug Mock, one of the top researchers in this field, explains why. These widespread features of the animal kingdom originally puzzled biologists but no longer for reasons that Mock makes clear.—John Alcock, Arizona State University

The world of animal behavior is full of many fascinating and varied phenomena. Few are more difficult to reconcile than outright cruelty among relatives. More than Kin and Less than Kind shows us how to understand the forces that can at once break up and help to stabilize family groups. It is must reading for all students of behavior. I couldn’t put it down.—Marc Bekoff, University of Colorado, author of Minding Animals and, with Jane Goodall, The Ten Trusts

Those fond of intoning piously that a biological universal is support and loyalty to one’s family members may want to rethink their position. Doug Mock has many grim tales to tell about family dynamics in species that make the Simpsons look like the Brady Bunch. But the book is much more than the natural history of family dysfunction; it is a model of how behavioral ecology can and should be done. This is a gripping read. Just don’t take the book to family reunions.—Marlene Zuk, University of California, Riverside, author of Sexual Selections: What We Can and Can’t Learn about Sex from Animals

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Cover: A Theory of Justice: Original Edition, by John Rawls, from Harvard University Press

John Rawls: Speaking in a Shared Political Language

On the occasion of the anniversary of the publication of A Theory of Justice, Andrius Gališanka, author of John Rawls: The Path to a Theory of Justice, reflects on some of Rawls’s ideas on moral and political reasoning