Blute Blog

Blute's blog about evolutionary theory: biological, sociocultural and gene-culture.

Get Costs In!

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A lesson can be drawn from Charnov who transformed Fisher’s sex ratio theory into sex allocation theory but unfortunately the lesson has generally not spread in evolutionary theory beyond that. The lesson is that costs as well as frequencies have to be included and every time one dives deeper, one finds both again. That is the case whether we are talking about evolutionary ecology (e.g. density-dependence), social evolution (e.g. sexual selection), the origin of life, the extended evolutionary synthesis or whatever. The same point can be put in a variety of ways – costs as well as frequencies, quality (qu) as well as quantity (qa), investing as well as spending, somatic as well as reproductive functions etc. need to be included.

Both are needed and every time we dig deeper we need both again:
e.g. density dependence traditionally is qa (r) vs qu (K) but then need qa & qu of both 1
e.g. sexual selection theories are qa or qu but need both for sexual and for natural selection 2
e.g. the ‘originals’ grew (qu) as well as coming to reproduce (qa) 3
e.g. development as well as evolution must become part of the modern evolutionary synthesis 4

1 Density-Dependent Selection Revisited: Mechanisms Linking Explanantia and Explananda.  Biological Theory 11(2) 2016: 113-121.
2 Mating markets: A naturally selected sex allocation theory of sexual selection. Biological Theory 14(2) 2019: 103-111.
3 Origins and the Eco-Evo-Devo Problem. Biological Theory 1(2) 2006: 116-118.
4 Three Modes of Evolution by Natural Selection and Drift: A New Or an Extended Evolutionary Synthesis? Biological Theory 12(2) 2017: 67-71.

Written by Marion Blute

December 28, 2020 at 4:16 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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