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Alison Jolly: Natural selection and females, 10 August 2000

Mother Nature: Natural Selection and the Female of the Species 
by Sarah BlafferHrdy.
Chatto, 697 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 7011 6625 8
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... Sarah Hrdy is tough-minded about a tender subject. Motherhood, she says, is a minefield. Mothers love babies passionately – but not unconditionally. We have evolved as adept sociobiologists, able to calculate love. On the other side of the relationship, baby love is unconditional, indeed desperate. Babies want it all, every scrap of attention they can command, at least up to the point where the mother would be so exhausted that her failure would rebound on the baby itself ...

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