Wild Connection: What Animal Courtship and Mating Tell Us About Human Relationships

Jennifer L. Verdolin. Prometheus Books, $18.95 trade paper (310p) ISBN 978-1-61614-946-8
Animal behavior specialist Verdolin takes a lighthearted, pop-science approach toward applying some biologically deterministic lessons to her own romantic life, looking for analogies to mainstream heterosexual dating behavior throughout the animal kingdom. She highlights features like symmetry that both sexes appreciate as a marker of good genetics; female behaviors like “copycatting,” which she argues may mean one should avoid introducing an attractive boyfriend to single friends; male behaviors like gift-giving to attract females; and male mate guarding to ensure fidelity. Her perspective mostly matches American cultural standards: “males follow females and females follow resources.” Verdolin’s personal stories are too bland to work as a strong hook for her animal anecdotes; at best, she proves the point that nature is diverse enough to offer a model for most human behaviors. In the end, whether or not readers are convinced of her evolutionary evidence, Verdolin nevertheless helpfully reminds readers that the features that make for a sexy hookup are not the same ones that signal a good life partner. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/21/2014
Release date: 06/03/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 149 pages - 978-1-61614-947-5
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