With Mother Nature, U.S. anthropologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy strides into the minefield, examining motherhood across cultures, historical periods. In this provocative, groundbreaking book, renowned anthropologist (and mother) Sarah Blaffer Hrdy shares a radical new vision of motherhood and its crucial. “As was the case for her earlier classic, Mother Nature, Sarah Hrdy’s Mothers and Others is a brilliant work on a profoundly important subject. The leading.

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In her nuanced, stunningly original interpretation of the relationships between mothers and fathers, mothers and babies, and mothers and natude social groups, Hrdy offers not only a revolutionary new meaning to motherhood but an important new understanding of human evolution.

Written with grace and clarity, suffused with the wisdom of a long and distinguished career, Mother Nature is a profound contribution to our understanding of who we are as a species–and why we have become this way. However, as nother notes, “Working mothers are not new. It also was a book that brought questions and extra Review also appears on my blog: It engaged me wholly, making me re-examine many ideas I had already thought deeply about pertaining to culture, patriarchy, reproductive autonomy, and my own life.

I’m still skeptical about evolutionary psychology, and find the near-exclusive focus on natural selection to be somewhat reductionist Hrdy doesn’t discount the impacts of culture and temperament, but doesn’t spend much time on them. But it’s freeing as well, in dismantling the myth of the Perfect Mother by showing us how very conditional a mother’s affections actually are.

For me the key liberating insight from the book is that “mother nature” is definitely not the sentimentalized saccharine Victorian idea mothet the motner dare I say “holy”ever-subservient “angel in the house” mothering on mindlessly – with a smile. Written with grace and clarity, suffused with the htdy of a long and distinguished career, Mother Nature naturd a profound contribution to our understanding of who we are as a species–and why we have become this way.

Levine suggests that there are elements of truth in both camps. Jul 08, Cara Pulley rated it it was amazing.

Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape the Human Species

Angela Saini Narrated by: Aug 17, Meghan rated it it was amazing Shelves: Hrdy strips away stereotypes and gender-biased myths to demonstrate that traditional views of maternal behavior are essentially wishful thinking codified as objective observation.


As Sapolsky explains, most of us do not lie awake at night worrying about whether we have leprosy or malaria.

Her thought-provoking book will interest students, specialists, and general readers alike and should focus attention on the neglected roles of mothers and others within human evolutionary theory. In Mother Nature Hrdy argued that apes with the life history attributes of Homo sapiens could not have evolved unless alloparents in addition to parents had helped to care for and provision offspring, “the Cooperative Breeding Hypothesis”. It made me wonder how closely intertwined Freud’s view and Darwin’s view really are, those deep subconscious drives that Freud was so obsessed with seems driven by behaviors we learned millions of years ago on the african savanah.

I either don’t understand or don’t agree with the whole “environment of evolutionary adaptedness” concept. Throughout history, women have often chosen to remain childless; they may opt for abortion over childbearing, adoption over naturs, a wet nurse over breastfeeding.

Short birth intervals make unhealthy mothers who die in childbirth. In traditional Darwinian evolutionary biology, the female of any species has evolved to produce and nurture the species; one could say it is her only role. While this makes for a less enjoyable read, one can only appreciate that Hrdy was unwilling to whittle the complex and competing forces under discussion into a more hry narrative. That gives an “illusion of paternity ,” as Trivers put it.

Written with grace and clarity, suffused with the wisdom of a long and distinguished career, Mother Nature is a profound contribution to our understanding of who we are as a species—and why we have become this way.

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She went to Mount Abu in India to study Hanuman langurs and concluded that infanticide was independent of overcrowding—it was possibly an evolutionary tactic: Story continues below advertisement. The demands of raising our slow-growing and energetically expensive offspring led to cooperative child-rearing, she argues, which was key to our survival.

David Quammen Narrated by: Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles.

A New View of Mothers. Carl Zimmer Narrated by: The notion of women being genetically predisposed to be natural nurturers and thus better suited for raising children hdy is, the traditional gender roleis more of a societal evolution of mores, and not a genetic or biological evolution based on survival of the fittest.

Due to the high cost of raising a human, mothers who were choosy about which babies they would raise did better. In fact all mothers, in the struggle to guarantee both their own survival and that of their offspring, deal nimbly with competing demands and conflicting strategies. The invention of birth control 11, years later changed all of that. In some environments, safe care was not likely to naturw available, so mothers and infants have had longer-term exclusive bonds.


She also stands by her view that humans hrdh as cooperative breedersmaking them essentially unable to raise offspring without a helper.

At the extreme, maternal behaviour may manifest itself in the form of child abandonment and infanticide: Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. Want to read this book and find out?

Mothers and Others — Sarah Blaffer Hrdy | Harvard University Press

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. The mother who decides to work outside the home is seen as selfish and uncaring — an aberration of the “natural” model of motherhood. Nautre are and always have been active strategists in the partitioning of their mental and physical resources for child-rearing, even if that meant deciding which children lived and which died especially so.

What is it about that two percent difference in DNA that has created such a divergence between evolutionary cousins? But the speaker is awfully boring, repetitive, chops up sentences, makes everything sound the same.

Heart was right about the number nture bad things happening to small children in this book, though the tone of scientific detachment throughout the whole thing made it surprisingly painless to read about. The author is rightfully skeptical of so much discourse about parenting that focuses on what mothers “naturally” ought to be doing, and it’s refreshing to read instead about what they have always done, on every step of the evolutionary ladder from bees to monkeys to ancient humans to modern civilization.

She finds that human mothers do have instincts, of course, but they are not all stereotypically “maternal.

Modern feminism needs to accept evolutionary theory rather than paint itself into a blind corner of moral dogma and bad science.