Edward Osborne "E.O." Wilson, the American biologist and leading authority on ants whose study of tiny insects led to some of the biggest, most provocative scientific ideas of the 20th century - most notably that a biological basis to human behavior exists — died on December 26, 2021 in Burlington, Massachusetts. He was 92.
E.O. Wilson was born June 10, 1929, in Birmingham, Alabama, to Edward and Inez Wilson. Ed, as he was known to friends, grew up exploring the forests and swamps around Mobile, Alabama.
In the 1970s, his study of social ants, bees, wasps, and termites led him to create the field of sociobiology, which shattered then-popular dogma that babies are born tabula rasa, or with their minds a blank slate to be formed by nurture and learning alone. In The Insect Societies, and more fully in Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, he insisted that genetic traits influence intelligence and play a role in both animal and human behavior, including aggression.