Alcock, J. & Sherman, P. 1994: The utility of the proximate-ultimate dichotomy in ethology. Ethology 96, 58–62.
The Utility of the Proximate-Ultimate Dichotomy in Ethology
Article first published online: 26 APR 2010
1994 Blackwell Verlag GmbH
Volume 96, Issue 1, pages 58–62, January-December 1994
How to Cite
Alcock, J. and Sherman, P. (1994), The Utility of the Proximate-Ultimate Dichotomy in Ethology. Ethology, 96: 58–62. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0310.1994.tb00881.x
- Issue published online: 26 APR 2010
- Article first published online: 26 APR 2010
- Received: June 16, 1993; Accepted: September 13, 1993 (J. Brockmann)
We defend the organizing principle that there are fundamentally different levels of analysis in biology, notably proximate and ultimate. Despite recent claims to the contrary, the proximate-ultimate distinction is a true dichotomy, not an artificial division of a continuum. Acceptance of this dichotomy does not imply that ultimate questions are of greater importance than those dealing with proximate mechanisms, nor does it result in confusion of current reproductive consequences with evolutionary causes.