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The Red Queen revisited The Red Queen revisited

By Ellie Whittaker

Humankind has evolved far from the caves of our ancestors and even further from the apes from which we are descended. Or have we? Do Mars and Venus have anything to do with the differences in the sexes? Where does nature stop and nurture begin?

Matt Ridley attempts to clarify all these questions and more, by explaining how sex is the driving force in the evolution of human nature, and why it has led not only to maleness and femaleness, but ultimately to characterise much of our behaviour, and that of many other species.

Ridley explains why the evolution of sex has led to men being more aggressive and promiscuous than women, why women are often more likely to conceive when mating with a partner other than their husband, and even more fundamental issues such as why there are equal numbers of females and males.

Readily forgoing political correctness, this excellently written and amusing book contends that males strive to be successful, in order to gain as many matings as possible with young and attractive women, whereas females attempt to form lasting pair bonds with one successful and high ranking male. Often challenging, but always clear and enthralling, The Red Queen should be read by anyone interested in the complexities and obscurities of our own behaviour.



[Matt Ridley, The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature. Perennial, 2003]

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