Dugatkin, Lee Alan 1962-
Dugatkin, Lee Alan 1962-
Born July 8, 1962; married; wife's name Dana; children: Aaron. Education: State University of New York at Albany, B.A., 1985, M.S., 1988; State University of New York at Binghamton, Ph.D., 1991; postdoctoral studies at the University of Kentucky National Science Foundation.
Office—Department of Biological Sciences, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292. E-mail—[email protected]
University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, professor of biological sciences. Guest lecturer at universities, including Oxford University, Cornell University, Harvard University, University of Chicago, Cambridge University, and the London School of Economics.
Distinguished Dissertation Award in Science and Mathematics, State University of New York; "Young Scientist" awards, United States International Ethological Committee, 1991, 1993; Young Investigator Award, Society of American Naturalists, 1993; Outstanding New Investigator Award, Animal Behavior Society, 1995; University Scholar, University of Louisville, 1995-2000; Outstanding Academic Book of the Year, Choice magazine, 1997, for Cooperation among Animals: An Evolutionary Perspective; Young Investigator Award, Sigma Xi, 1999.
Cooperation among Animals: An Evolutionary Perspective, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1997.
(Editor, with Hudson Kern Reeve) Game Theory & Animal Behavior, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1998.
Cheating Monkeys and Citizen Bees: The Nature of Cooperation in Animals and Humans, Free Press (New York, NY), 1999.
The Imitation Factor: Evolution beyond the Gene, Free Press (New York, NY), 2000.
(Editor) Model Systems in Behavioral Ecology: Integrating Conceptual, Theoretical, and Empirical Approaches, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 2001.
Principles of Animal Behavior, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 2004.
The Altruism Equation: Seven Scientists Search for the Origins of Goodness, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 2006.
Contributor to periodicals, including BioScience, Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Proceedings of the Royal Society, Newsday, NewScientist, Washington Post, New York Times, Globe and Mail, Guardian, Discovery, Science, Science News, and Scientific American. Author of science column for the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Biologist Lee Alan Dugatkin has received considerable attention for his research and writings about animal behavior. Specifically, he is interested in the similarities between human beings and other animals concerning social interactions and culture, areas that many people consider distinctly human qualities. In books such as Cooperation among Animals: An Evolutionary Perspective, The Imitation Factor: Evolution beyond the Gene, and The Altruism Equation: Seven Scientists Search for the Origins of Goodness, Dugatkin maintains that the evidence exists to show that animals demonstrate such highly advanced traits as altruism and culture.
Cooperation among Animals, which Robert Costanza described in BioScience as "a major step forward in our understanding of cooperative behavior," is a study of how cooperation may have evolved because of its various survival payoffs. Many behaviorists see cooperation in terms of the payoff potential from helping someone else. Dugatkin's "cooperation dilemma" is a kind of expansion of the "prisoner's dilemma" often explored by behaviorists in which an individual can benefit by either helping or betraying another individual, doing so based on what the first individual believes the second might do. "Theoretical work in biology, Dugatkin notes, is heavily skewed toward models of reciprocity," related Costanza, because it is easier to measure in scientific models than the more complex "scorekeeping" that must be understood in mutualism. The author provides examples in nature where animals cooperate in ways that help them find food or mutual protection, but the problem is that "actual measurements of payoff matrices for use in testing the theory are few and far between." Dugatkin therefore proposes that researchers conduct more studies to measure the more complex payoffs of mutualism versus reciprocity in what Costanza called an "engaging, honest" text.
The Imitation Factor expresses Dugatkin's belief that animals, like humans, have "cultures" that differentiate separate populations of the same species. His main focus is on guppies, showing that different guppy groups share specific preferences for mates that are learned through imitation rather than genetic inheritance. Jon W. Turney, writing in the New York Times Book Review, noted that such contentions have gained acceptance in the scientific community, revealing that humans are not so very unique from other animals. Turney, however, questioned some of Dugatkin's assertions. His main argument is that Dugatkin makes too large a leap between specific examples of animal behavior and broader generalizations. "The truth is that Dugatkin has some solid results that may be important to behavioral ecologists and evolutionary theorists," Turney asserted. "He does not have even the beginnings of a biological theory of culture in its larger senses." Other reviewers were more receptive, with several critics applauding presentation of the information. Booklist contributor Vanessa Bush, for instance, called The Imitation Factor "very accessible, even entertaining." A Publishers Weekly writer predicted that the book "will inspire even the most skeptical readers."
In a work similar in theme to Cooperation among Animals, Dugatkin's The Altruism Equation concerns the progress scientists have made in understanding altruistic behavior in animals. The scientists Dugatkin feels made the biggest strides in this area are Charles Darwin, Petr Kropotkin, Thomas H. Huxley, J.B.S. Haldane, W.C. Allee, William D. Hamilton, and George Price. As Stephen Pruett-Jones explained in a BioScience review, understanding altruistic behavior in animals has influence in other areas of science: "It led at least in part, if not directly, to a gene perspective of evolution, the theory of kin selection, the foundation for much of the emerging field of sociobiology, and sex ratio theory; it also led to the development of game theory and the notion of evolutionary stable strategies. In other words, it changed the way people thought about social behavior specifically, as well as about evolution generally." The critic concluded that "Dugatkin does an excellent job of putting everyone's historical and current roles in perspective." "This superb tale of scientific discovery is required reading for everyone interested in the nature of human morality," asserted a Publishers Weekly critic.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Zoologist, December, 1997, Marc Bekoff, review of Cooperation among Animals: An Evolutionary Perspective, p. 651.
Animal Behaviour, September, 1998, P.G. Caryl, review of Game Theory & Animal Behavior, p. 797.
BioScience, July, 1998, Robert Costanza, review of Cooperation among Animals, p. 564; October, 2007, Stephen Pruett-Jones, "We Know It When We See It," review of The Altruism Equation: Seven Scientists Search for the Origins of Goodness, p. 792.
Booklist, January 1, 2001, Vanessa Bush, review of The Imitation Factor: Evolution beyond the Gene, p. 891.
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, October, 1997, K.A. Campbell, review of Cooperation among Animals, p. 320; October, 1998, T.C. Williams, review of Game Theory & Animal Behavior, p. 344; July-August, 2001, J. Nabe, review of The Imitation Factor, p. 1982; March, 2007, G.C. Stevens, review of The Altruism Equation, p. 1192.
Discover, March, 2001, Eric Powell, review of The Imitation Factor, p. 87.
Library Journal, December, 2000, Gregg Sapp, review of The Imitation Factor, p. 182.
Nature, September 3, 1998, Marc Mangel, review of Game Theory & Animal Behavior, p. 32; October 22, 1998, Martin A. Nowak, review of Cooperation among Animals, p. 760; March 1, 2001, Stephen Pruett-Jones, review of The Imitation Factor, p. 16; December 7, 2006, "One Good Deed: Can a Simple Equation Explain the Development of Altruism?," p. 683.
New Scientist, January 6, 2001, review of The Imitation Factor, p. 40.
New York Times book Review, July 15, 2001, Jon W. Turney, "Guppy Love," review of The Imitation Factor.
Publishers Weekly, December 4, 2000, review of The Imitation Factor, p. 62; July 17, 2006, review of The Altruism Equation, p. 147.
Quarterly Review of Biology, September, 1998, David B. McDonald, review of Cooperation among Animals, p. 387; December 1999, Scott Gleeson, review of Game Theory & Animal Behavior, p. 497; September, 2002, Lawrence M. Dill, review of Model Systems in Behavioral Ecology: Integrating Conceptual, Theoretical, and Empirical Approaches, p. 361; September, 2002, "Of Replicators and Selectors," p. 302; June, 2007, Daniel J. Kruger, review of The Altruism Equation, p. 177.
Science Books & Films, March-April, 2007, Ethan Allen, review of The Altruism Equation, p. 63.
Times Higher Education Supplement, February 27, 2004, "If We Could Talk to the Animals," p. 6.
Times Literary Supplement, April 27, 2007, "Moral Mammals," p. 12.