RE: draft abstract Sex, Drugs and Cults

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Tue Feb 19 2002 - 03:10:28 GMT

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    From: "Scott Chase" <>
    Subject: RE: draft abstract Sex, Drugs and Cults
    Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 22:10:28 -0500
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    >From: "Francesca S. Alcorn" <>
    >Subject: RE: draft abstract Sex, Drugs and Cults
    >Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 17:13:07 -0500
    >>>According to my ethology book (Ethology: the Mechanisms and Evolution
    >>>of Behavior by James L. Gould) the less-offspring/more-investment
    >>>strategy (called K-strategy) occurs in "habitats with relatively
    >>> (snip)
    >Grant said:
    >>That seems like a very abstract way of putting it. What do the
    >>letters "k" and "r" stand for? Social standing is just as important
    >>in my view as resources, although people with high social standing
    >>usually have access to more resources. I remember the marxist
    >>societies of China and Eastern Europe where salaries were pretty
    >>much fixed and not too far apart that social standing got one
    >>limosines to travel around in and a lot of privileges as far as
    >>things such as dachas in russia and superior housing in China. You
    >>don't have to own something if you have unlimited use of it. Just
    >>the privilege of going to the head of the line was worth a lot in
    >>the Soviet Union.
    >r stands for the species specific maximum growth rate. K stands for
    >the carrying capacity, where K is whatever resource sets the the
    >limit. There are a couple of mathematical equations and a graph
    >which I will not try to render in Eudora. But the book is one of my
    >all-time favorites, so I can't recommend it highly enough.
    Another Gould (Stephen J.) used the r vs. K rubric in his _Ontogeny and
    Phylogeny_. r was supposedly associated with early sexual maturation in the
    context of a juvenilized morphology (progenesis) where K was supposedly
    associated with retarded body development leading to a juvenilized
    morphology (neoteny). The generalized state of juvenilization is known as
    paedomorphosis with subsets of progenesis (associated with r-selective
    strategy as above) and neoteny (associated with K-selective strategy as

    It is a generalization often assumed that humans are neotenic, but I'm not
    sure how this generalization holds up. Gould delves into the gnarly details,
    though I guess his work is dated (1977). This has much to do with relative
    developmental rates (something extremely technical and confusing called
    "heterochrony") and fits in with Haeckel historically another topic which
    Gould covers in detail.

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