Since Charles Darwin, evolutionary biologists have been convinced that the males of the animal kingdom are the interesting ones dominating and promiscuous, while females are dull, passive, and devoted. In her new book Bitch, Cooke tells a new story. Whether investigating same — sex female albatross couples that raise chicks, murderous mother meerkats, or the titanic battle of the sexes waged by ducks, Cooke shows us a new evolutionary biology, one where females can be as dynamic as males. This isn’t your grandfather’s (or Darwin’s) evolutionary biology. It’s more inclusive, and truer to life.
Shermer and Cooke discuss: the definition of male and female across the animal kingdom • male bias in the history of science • genes involved in sex determination and how they work • natural selection • sexual selection • adaptationism vs. non-adaptationism in evolutionary theory • Why do men have nipples? • Why do women have orgasms? • why female animals are just as promiscuous, competitive, aggressive, dominant and dynamic as males • what humans can learn from non-human animals • maternal and paternal instincts • patriarchy and matriarchy across the animal kingdom • and why the sexes are far more alike than they are different.
Lucy Cooke is the author of The Truth About Animals, which was short-listed for the Royal Society Prize, and the New York Times bestselling A Little Book of Sloth. She is a National Geographic explorer, TED talker, and award-winning documentary filmmaker with a master’s degree in zoology from Oxford University. She lives in Hastings, England.