Wildhood: The Epic Journey from Adolescence to Adulthood in Humans and Other Animals

Scribner. Sept. 2019. 336p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9781501164699. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781501164712. SCI
Natterson-Horowitz (medicine, Univ. of California, Los Angeles, Division of Cardiology, codirector, evolutionary medicine, Harvard) collaborates with science journalist Bowers on a follow-up to their best seller Zoobiquity. Their new work offers a study of the universality of adolescence across the animal kingdom, coining the term wildhood for this crucial transition period. From fruit flies to meerkats, all animals have an adolescent phase during which they face the same core challenges: avoiding predators; negotiating a social hierarchy; experimenting sexually; and ultimately developing enough self-reliance to leave home. To illustrate how adolescents navigate each of these challenges, the coauthors feature coming-of-age stories for a king penguin, a spotted hyena, a humpback whale, and a wolf (and incorporate research from a variety of other species). Though at times these narratives read like animal adventure stories for children, they clearly demonstrate that adolescent behaviors such as risk-taking, bullying, and trial-and-error learning are widespread in the animal kingdom.
VERDICT This compelling account of how strongly human adolescent behaviors are rooted in our wild animal past should intrigue general science readers and fans of Zoobiquity. [See Prepub Alert, 3/4/19.]

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