Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

A straw man on a dead horse: Studying adaptation then and now

Marlene Zuk a1
a1 Department of Biology, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521


Although Gould and Lewontin's (1979) paper stimulated an extraordinary response, the current study of adaptation is – and should be – more than a defense against their criticisms. Adaptations are studied by biologists in new and exciting ways, including experimental manipulations of populations in the field and laboratory, comparative analyses of taxa with known evolutionary relationships, and quantitative genetics. These techniques go beyond ascertaining whether or not a trait is an adaptation.