The Instincts of Wasps as a Problem in Evolution1

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THIS work has been looked forward to with the deepest interest by all naturalists who are familiar with Dr. and Mrs. Peckham's observations upon the courtship of the spiders, and who were aware that this long-continued and laborious research had been undertaken by them. The observations and conclusions of M. Fabre upon the instincts of the solitary wasps have been so often quoted, and have formed the foundation of so large a superstructure of theory, that it became of the highest importance that they should be repeated by other naturalists. The late George Romanes and many other writers on evolution have always looked upon these observations as the strongest of all arguments for a Lamarckian instead of a Darwinian interpretation of instinct. Thus Romanes wrote in “Mental Evolution in Animals”: “Several species of the Hymenoptera display what I think may be justly deemed the most remarkable instincts in the world.

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P., E. The Instincts of Wasps as a Problem in Evolution1. Nature 59, 466–468 (1899) doi:10.1038/059466a0

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