Mathematical Models of Social Evolution: A Guide for the Perplexed

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University of Chicago Press, Sep 15, 2008 - Social Science - 432 pages
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Over the last several decades, mathematical models have become central to the study of social evolution, both in biology and the social sciences. But students in these disciplines often seriously lack the tools to understand them. A primer on behavioral modeling that includes both mathematics and evolutionary theory, Mathematical Models of Social Evolution aims to make the student and professional researcher in biology and the social sciences fully conversant in the language of the field.

Teaching biological concepts from which models can be developed, Richard McElreath and Robert Boyd introduce readers to many of the typical mathematical tools that are used to analyze evolutionary models and end each chapter with a set of problems that draw upon these techniques. Mathematical Models of Social Evolution equips behaviorists and evolutionary biologists with the mathematical knowledge to truly understand the models on which their research depends. Ultimately, McElreath and Boyd’s goal is to impart the fundamental concepts that underlie modern biological understandings of the evolution of behavior so that readers will be able to more fully appreciate journal articles and scientific literature, and start building models of their own.


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1 Theoreticians Laboratory
2 Animal Conflict
3 Altruism Inclusive Fitness
4 Reciprocity
5 Animal Communication
6 Selection among Groups
7 Sex Allocation
8 Sexual Selection

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Page 5 - Have you used it much?" I enquired. "It has never been spread out, yet," said Mein Herr: "the farmers objected: they said it would cover the whole country, and shut out the sunlight! So we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well.
Page 5 - What do you consider the largest map that would be really useful ? " " About six inches to the mile." " Only six inches ! " exclaimed Mein Herr. " We very soon got to six yards to the mile. Then we tried a hundred yards to the mile. And then came the grandest idea of all ! We actually made a map of the country, on the scale of a mile to the mile ! " " Have you used it much ?

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About the author (2008)

Richard McElreath is associate professor of anthropology at the University of California, Davis. Robert Boyd is professor of anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and coauthor of Not by Genes Alone, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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