chapter  2
Contemporary Evolutionary Perspectives
Pages 18

Another discipline to emerge from the modern synthesis and classical ethology was sociobiology, a term made at once popular and controversial with the publication of E. O. Wilson’s comprehensive opus, Sociobiology: The New Synthesis. Wilson (1975) defined sociobiology as the “systematic study of the biological basis of social behavior.” If Wilson had confined his analysis of social behavior to nonhuman animals there would have been no controversy. Indeed, many of the principles of sociobiology were initially worked out in both logical and empirical terms within the traditional biological disciplines of entomology and zoology. Like Darwin and Lorenz before him, Wilson got into hot water for daring to suppose that the principles of sociobiology also applied to humans, a position that is now both widespread and not particularly controversial.