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November 21, 1953

The Social Insects

Author Affiliations

By O. W. Richards, M.A., D.Sc. Cloth. $4.75. Pp. 219, with 63 illustrations. Philosophical Library, Inc., 15 E. 40th St., New York 16; Macdonald & Co., Ltd., 16 Maddox St., London, W.C.1, 1953.

JAMA. 1953;153(12):1137. doi:10.1001/jama.1953.02940290069049

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The author, one of Britain's foremost entomologists, has written a very readable account of the communal activities of bees, wasps, ants, and termites. The results of the most recent research in this field are described clearly and authoritatively to establish for the reader the contrast between insect and human societies. Although human behavior depends almost entirely on learning in early life, insect behavior is unlearned, "unintelligent," and rigid. Despite such a limitation, it is surprising to learn how insects have developed societies of diverse complexities.

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