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The purpose of adaptation

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Abstract

A central feature of Darwin’s theory of natural selection is that it explains the purpose of biological adaptation. Here, I: emphasise the scientific importance of understanding what adaptations are for, in terms of facilitating the derivation of empirically-testable predictions; discuss the population genetical basis for Darwin’s theory of the purpose of adaptation, with reference to the “fundamental theorem of natural selection”; and show that a deeper understanding of the purpose of adaptation is achieved in the context of social evolution, with reference to inclusive fitness and superorganisms.
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Original languageEnglish
Article number20170005
Number of pages7
JournalInterface Focus
Volume7
Issue number5
Early online date18 Aug 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2017

    Research areas

  • Natural selection, Fundamental theorem, Darwinism, Inclusive fitness, Social evolution, Superorganism

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