chapter  6
38 Pages

The Coevolution of Behavioral and Life-History Characteristics

WithRobert R. Warner

This chapter identifies the environmental parameters which have been suggested to be important selective forces. It describes the life-history traits and social/mating systems of an animal in terms of a series of variables, relatively independent of each other. The chapter shows what have been suggested as likely secondary adaptations to pre-existent life-history traits or social/mating systems. It reviews the different schemes for testing hypotheses about adaptation with particular attention paid to the considerable problems they all share. One of the goals of evolutionary biology is to explain various characteristics shown by organisms as adaptations to the environment. Adaptations are those traits that convey the highest fitness out of an array of possible alternative traits. The chapter discusses the problems of measurement and their interpretation as primary adaptations to various environmental parameters. Behavioral secondary adaptations generally have been related to other behavioral characteristics rather than to life history.