chapter  12
Developmental Psychology and Modern Darwinism: Michele K. Surbey
Pages 35

The immature organism does not merely careen along a developmental landscape coincidentally avoiding blind alleys and pitfalls, rebounding randomly from perturbations, haphazardly skimming experience from extrusions arising along the way, and then come to a great screeching halt at adulthood. Ontogeny is not a random walk or fitful rollercoaster ride along an unexpected course that mysteriously reaches its apex in the adult form. An organism's development has been shaped by a long process of selection acting on individual ontogenies resulting in a particular life history. In contrast to the variegated life histories of other inhabitants of our planet, such as the insects, the human life history is relatively unelaborate, punctuated by perhaps only one metamorphosis, with all remaining transitions fairly gradual and superficially unremarkable. Comparatively speaking, we are a species that is developmentally unadorned. Yet we human beings, uniquely capable of scientific inquiry, remain so transfixed by our own phenomenological experiences of development that we have been unable to fully consider human ontogeny through the dispassionate eye of selection theory. Although admittedly the earliest attempts to incorporate evolutionary approaches into developmental theory fell short, the theoretical groundwork has now been fully

laid for the proper re-acquaintance of developmental psychology with modem Darwinism.