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Mathematical Models of Social Evolution: A Guide for the Perplexed$
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Richard McElreath and Robert Boyd

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226558264

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226558288.001.0001

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Selection among Groups

Selection among Groups

Chapter:
(p.223) Chapter 6 Selection among Groups
Source:
Mathematical Models of Social Evolution: A Guide for the Perplexed
Author(s):

Richard Mcelreath

Robert Boyd

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226558288.003.0006

In his book Animal Dispersion in Relation to Social Behavior, ornithologist V. C. Wynne-Edwards argued that many enigmatic bird behaviors functioned to prevent over-population. The book generated a storm of controversy, and luminaries like George Williams and John Maynard Smith penned critiques explaining why this mechanism, then called “group selection,” could not work. The result was the beginning of an ongoing and highly successful revolution in our understanding of the evolution of animal behavior, a revolution that is rooted in carefully thinking about the individual and nepotistic functions of behavior. This chapter takes a general look at multilevel selection and shows that the Price equation also leads to a description of natural selection as going on in a series of nested levels: among genes within an individual, among individuals within groups, and among groups. It first discusses three views of selection according to personal fitness, inclusive fitness, and multilevel selection. It concludes by discussing the evolution of dispersal as an example of how multilevel selection can be used to clarify an important biological problem.

Keywords:   group selection, Price equation, dispersal, evolution, animal behavior, multilevel selection, inclusive selection, natural selection, personal fitness, inclusive fitness

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