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Studying the emergence of complicated group-level cultural traits requires a mathematical framework

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 June 2014

Michael Doebeli
Affiliation:
Department of Zoology and Department of Mathematics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada. doebeli@zoology.ubc.ca www.ubc.ca
Burton Simon
Affiliation:
Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, University of Colorado at Denver, Denver, CO 80202. Burt.Simon@ucdenver.edu http://www.ucdenver.edu

Abstract

Understanding the cultural evolution of complicated group-level traits requires the mathematical formulation of a dynamical system with birth and death events at multiple levels, that is, at the level of individual humans and at the level of groups of humans. Both levels are characterized by cultural traits that have complicated transmission, innovation, and inheritance mechanisms and that can undergo a form of Lamarckian evolution.

Type
Open Peer Commentary
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

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References

Boyd, R. & Richerson, P. J. (1985) Culture and the evolutionary process. University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
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Simon, B. (2008) A stochastic model of evolutionary dynamics with deterministic large population asymptotics. Journal of Theoretical Biology 254:719–30.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Simon, B., Fletcher, J. A. & Doebeli, M. (2013) Towards a general theory of group selection. Evolution 67:1561–72.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed

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