Koenraad Kortmulder : Play and Evolution
Second Thoughts on the Behaviour of Animals
This book criticises the way science, particularly some contemporary trends in biology, shapes our world view. The author's starting point is the relationship between individual animals, rather than the individual animals themselves. His simple, fundamental concepts are adapted from systems theory, field theory and thermodynamics to provide the conceptual tools required to describe and interpret the behaviour patterns that emerge between interacting animals. He explores where this path leads, tracing the roots of play all the way back to vertebrate origins. It reveals new viewpoints in diverse topics of behavioural and evolutionary science.
""This book is the most original contribution to ethological thought in decades. Essentially the author has done for the dynamics of social behaviour what Sir D'Arcy did for morphology in his immortal On Growth and Form (1917). From his field approach, and in his state space diagrams, Kortmulder develops a number of new concepts in social behaviour, such as radial and tangential orientation, symmetry and symmetry-breaking, and behavioural expansion and constriction. ... In a brief account I cannot do justice to the subtlety, the unfailing originality, and the wealth of illustrative detail in this attractively written and quite un-put- downable book. If Kortmulder´s ideas are followed up, it will immeasurably enrich the study of primate as of all animal behaviour."
W.M.S. Russell - University of Reading, in Primate Eye
"A book that involves a rethinking of basic biological assumptions about the origin and nature of play, with deep significance for our understanding of ourselves and our relation- ships with the animal kingdom... Original, well-grounded in observation, and contro- versial."
Brian Goodwin - Schumacher College"