University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Behaviour, Ecology & Evolution Seminar Series > Evolution of behavior through niche construction: architect crabs, cultured monkeys, and gossipy humans

Evolution of behavior through niche construction: architect crabs, cultured monkeys, and gossipy humans

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Organisms are not merely the passive pawns of natural selection; their behavior can also fundamentally shape the surrounding world, generating additional forms of inheritance that may have strong evolutionary impacts. In this talk I will discuss three long-term projects on organisms that actively shape their niche, generating forms of (1) ecological inheritance (e.g., remodeled shells in hermit crabs), (2) cultural inheritance (e.g., different ways of behaving in mandrill groups), and (3) informational inheritance (e.g., gossip about third parties in human social networks). Across each focal species—hermit crabs, mandrills, and humans—niche construction can change the selection pressures to which individuals are exposed and thus have important consequences, in some cases even creating novel evolutionary trajectories.

This talk is part of the Behaviour, Ecology & Evolution Seminar Series series.

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