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The evolution of music: One trait, many ultimate-level explanations

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 September 2021

Edgar Dubourg
ENS-PSL, 75005Paris,,
Jean-Baptiste André
ENS-PSL, 75005Paris,, CNRS, 75005Paris, France EHESS, 75005Paris, France
Nicolas Baumard
ENS-PSL, 75005Paris,, CNRS, 75005Paris, France EHESS, 75005Paris, France


We propose an approach reconciling the ultimate-level explanations proposed by Savage et al. and Mehr et al. as to why music evolved. We also question the current adaptationist view of culture, which too often fails to disentangle distinct fitness benefits.

Open Peer Commentary
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

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