Robin Baker

Robin Baker
Hard Nut Books Ltd · Director

Bachelor of Science (Bristol, UK); PhD (Bristol, UK)

About

59
Publications
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Introduction
Robin Baker worked at the School of Biological Sciences, The University of Manchester until 1996 and is currently Director of Hard Nut Books, Ltd, London. In addition to writing popular science books and novels, Robin continues to carry out research in Biological Anthropology, Human Biology and Evolutionary Biology. His current project, jointly with Todd Shackelford,, Oakland University, Michigan, involves the development of a numerical approach to the influence of sperm competition on the evolution of sexual traits in animals with a particular interest in old world monkeys, apes and humans.

Publications

Publications (59)
Article
Full-text available
The empirical study of the role of sperm competition in the evolution of sexual traits has historically been problematic through the inability either to measure sperm competition levels directly in the present or to reconstruct changes in the evolutionary past. Here, we develop and test a procedure based on paternity data that potentially permits b...
Article
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Objectives: The phrase "level of sperm competition" is used only vaguely in the primate literature. There is also little distinction between the important elements of frequency and intensity of sperm competition, largely because the two current forms of measurement (socio-sexual system and relative testes size) are both proxies which allow neither...
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Primal. Virgin Books, 2009, 384 pp., US$10.86 (e-book). Caballito. Hard Nut Books, 2012, 210 pp., US$9.99 (e-book). The Hitchhiker's Child. Hard Nut Books, 2013, 239 pp., US$9.99 (e-book).
Article
Summary Morphological comparison of sperm in raw ejaculates and swim-ups showed that the swim-up process does not simply increase the proportion of ‘normal’ sperm. Rather, sperm of specific morphologies have characteristic grades of upward motility. Zusammenfassung Ein Vergleich der morphologischen Qualität menschlicher Spermatozoen in frischen Eja...
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Plucked feathers of prey were collected at merlin breeding sites, and the 25 most frequent small prey species were ranked. Merlins seem to catch prey independently of coloration, though with perhaps non-significant emphasis on conspicuousness. -P.J.Jarvis
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When a woman copulates with two or more different men within five days, the sperm from those men compete for the ‘prize’ of fertilising any egg she may produce. This ‘sperm competition’ is probably both a lottery and a race, but more than anything it could also be a war, with sperm of different morphologies playing different roles. The risk of sper...
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Sperm competition theory argues that the number of sperm inseminated into a female by a male is a trade-off between two opposing pressures. On the one hand, the risk that sperm may find themselves in competition with the sperm from another male favours the male inseminating more sperm. On the other hand, ejaculates are costly to produce and males a...
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Behavioural ecologists view monogamy as a subtle mixture of conflict and cooperation between the sexes. In part, conflict and cooperation is cryptic, taking place within the female’s reproductive tract. In this paper the cryptic interaction for humans was analysed using data from both a nationwide survey and counts of sperm inseminated into, and ej...
Article
The post-fledging movements of young birds are poorly understood and difficult to study. Relatively little attention has been paid to the exploration-like elements of post-fledging movements. Thus, young birds visit and perhaps revisit a number of sites and collect sufficient navigational information to allow them to return, often months later, to...
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. 1Males operate within a finite energy budget and cannot produce limitless supplies of sperm. On the other hand, when a female mates with a second male while still containing fertile sperm from a rival male, selection should favour the male that inseminates more sperm. Optimal strategy should thus be for males to exercise discretion in the allocat...
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Males operate within a finite energy budget and cannot produce limitless supplies of sperm. On the other hand, when a female mates with a second male while still containing fertile sperm from a rival male, selection should favour the male that inseminates more sperm. Optimal strategy should thus be for males to exercise discretion in the allocation...
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Examined the frequency of extra-pair copulations (EPCs) by 2,708 female humans in relation to the probability of conception on days 6–20 of a 28-day menstrual cycle. Data are interpreted as supporting a sperm competition theory of double-mating behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Examined the frequency of extra-pair copulations (EPCs) by 2,708 female humans in relation to the probability of conception on days 6–20 of a 28-day menstrual cycle. Data are interpreted as supporting a sperm competition theory of double-mating behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Full-text available
There is a widespread misconception that only long­distance migrants, such as some birds, need to be able to navigate and that only such animals would thus benefit from a magnetic sense. In fact, navigational ability is essential to any animal with a home base to which the animal returns after occasional exploratory forays into surrounding unfamili...
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Experiments at Manchester University have led to two major claims: (1) in solving problems of orientation and navigation, humans have access to some non-visual ability; and (2) at least in part, this non-visual ability involves magnetoreception. This paper reviews all experiments on human navigation and magnetoreception since 1980 by authors other...
Article
Use of the moon as a compass during migration appears difficult due to the complexity of the moon's change in azimuth during the lunar month. These apparent difficulties would be eased if the moon's position were calibrated at intervals against a constant reference source, such as the geomagnetic field. Yet, until now, no animal has been shown to i...
Chapter
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Humans, in common with perhaps all vertebrates (Baker 1978, 1982, 1985c), organise their lives and movements within an area of familiarity. Each individual learns not only when and where to go to obtain this or that resource but also which routes are the most economical. Such behaviour is only possible if information concerning sites and routes is...
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Magnetoreception may be said to have occurred when a specific change in the ambient magnetic field, or in the orientation of an organism relative to the ambient magnetic field, is converted within the organism into a characteristic pattern of nerve impulses. In most cases we should expect that these nerve impulses would reach the central nervous sy...
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This paper is divided into two parts. The first summarizes American data on human navigation; the second evaluates criticisms of comparable data from Britain. When collected together, American data overwhelmingly replicate their British forerunners. In stark contrast, the interpretation of their own data by American authors is universally negative....
Book
How do birds navigate so successfully over thousands of kilometres making a return trip which may take them to the same nesting site every year? By the mid 1980s leading researchers thought that this most enduring and endearing of puzzles was solved and the author, a well known figure in the navigation field, explored this view in the light of the...
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Nature is the international weekly journal of science: a magazine style journal that publishes full-length research papers in all disciplines of science, as well as News and Views, reviews, news, features, commentaries, web focuses and more, covering all branches of science and how science impacts upon all aspects of society and life.
Article
Studies on the interaction of magnetic fields and biological organisms have centred on the influence of applied magnetic fields on the physiology and behaviour of organisms, including humans, and a search for magnetic sources within the organisms themselves. Evidence continues to accumulate that a wide range of organisms, from bacteria to vertebrat...
Article
Many animals are now known to have a magnetic sense which they use when moving from one place to another. Among insects, this sense has only been studied in any detail in the honey bee. A role for a magnetic compass sense in cross-country migration has not so far been demonstrated for any insect. On clear nights the large yellow underwing moth, Noc...
Chapter
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Recent conceptual developments in the study of animal navigation have drawn attention to the value of a comparative approach to bird navigation. Studies of rodents and humans show that birds are not unique in having a two-stage navigational process with Stage 1 (determination of the compass direction of home from the release site) being solved duri...
Article
Orientation to the Earth's magnetic field has been shown for bacteria, planarians, molluscs, insects, elasmobranch fish, salamanders and birds1,2. Recent work indicates that humans may also have a magnetic sense of direction3,4. We present here the first evidence for such a sense in a mammal other than man, the European woodmouse. In addition, by m...
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A wide range of animals are able to orient toward home when subjected to displacement-release experiments. When comparable experiments are performed on blindfolded humans, a similar ability emerges. Such goal-orientation does not result from following the complete journey on a mental map, nor is it influenced by cloud cover. Bar magnets worn on the...
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The ability to `home' after displacement has been demonstrated for several species of small mammals1. Whether such homing is accomplished by random scatter2, familiarity with a large area3,4 or some kind of navigation mechanism5 is still unknown. The ability to navigate (to determine the direction that will lead the animal to the required destinati...
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The aims in this paper are first to review theories of the evolution of bird coloration and, in some cases, partly revise and extend them, secondly to analyse the coloration of all the birds of a given geographical region using multiple regression, and thirdly on the basis of this analysis to evaluate the various theories. Theories. There have been...
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A portable semi-automatic flight monitor is described that permits continuous recording of the orientation of flying but tethered moths under field and other conditions. In light winds the compass orientation of tethered large yellow underwing moths, Noctua pronuba, is independent of wind direction. On moonlit nights the moon's azimuth is used as a...
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LIGHT TRAPS of various forms have been used to collect and study moths for well over 100 yr, but surprisingly little is known about how they attract moths. There has been some evaluation of the factors influencing the size of light trap catches1-5 and of the mechanics of the terminal phase of the moth's approach to a light6, but virtually nothing i...
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The procaryote-eucaryote dichotomy is argued to have evolved in response to the increasing cellular problems of packing and replicating an increasing amount of hereditary material. The evolution of a single circular hereditary organelle in the procaryote line is argued to have led to the loss of total fusion and the specialisation of individuals in...
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The classical theory for the origin of anisogamy is that the greatest number of successful fusions occurs when the gametic material available for the population is divided with a high degree of anisogamy. This assumes that a fixed amount of reserve material is necessary for development of the zygote and that only disassortative fusions occur (i.e....
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A theory of the evolution of the migratory habit in butterflies is used in an attempt to account for interspecific differences in extent and pattern of migration in these animals. Throughout the paper the sixty-eight species of British butterflies are used to illustrate the application of the theory and in sixteen of these species the theoretical e...
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A new theory of migration in butterflies is outlined and present concepts are examined. During the course of evolution many butterflies have become adapted in the larval stage to foodplants that occur in small and scattered localities, the distribution of which changes constantly. It is argued that whenever this happens selection might be expected...

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