DOI: 10.31862/2500-2965-2018-3-62-115

Group adaptations do not need group selection

The article provides an overview of the works on different species of birds and mammals (and other vertebrates to a lesser extent), which show the origin of group adaptations that benefit society as a whole or the entire population developing a new landscape, but costly and / or risky for each of the individuals.

Their formation and development are recorded in three cases: urbanization of “wild” birds and mammal species culminating in the emergence of specialized urban populations; animal communication, when individuals in communities interact not directly, but the action of one and the counter-action of the other is mediated by a specific set of demonstrations, visual and acoustic, with a characteristic shape and signal function; in the formation of a family-group lifestyle of rodents.

The objective of the research was to investigate whether the formation of group adaptations (at least in these three cases) really requires “multiplication of entities” – the use of the concept of group selection or, like the others, these adaptations can be explained by the action of individual selection. In all three cases, it turns out that the formation of the corresponding group adaptations is an action of individual selection, but influencing individuals not independent, but connected by a certain structure – social or population (spatial-ethological) to the corresponding system of supra-individual level. In all cases it turns out that first of all the structure of the system is transformed, and only then there is the process of selection of individuals who are the most adapted to the changed relationships, i.e. the selection is stabilizing rather than moving.

So we pass between Scylla of socio-biological explanations and Charybdis of group selection. This is necessary because both of them are useless as a general explanation of the origin of group adaptations.

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