Cover Story: Is Kin Selection Dead?

Spread the love

My photo of two Formica nestmates accompanies the latest salvo in the long-standing argument over the roles of Kin Selection and Group Selection in the emergence of eusociality.

I disagree with the conclusion that kin selection has little to do with social evolution, but as I’m short on blogging time today I will spare you the details. For now.

6 thoughts on “Cover Story: Is Kin Selection Dead?”

  1. How does kin selection work in colonies where workers have multiple fathers (and sometimes mothers)? Why should an ant have to help raise unrelated brood instead of laying her own eggs?

    1. It is generally thought that early instances of eusocial behavior involve singly-mated females, and that multiple mating arises once the lineage has become irreversibly eusocial. That is, kin selection may be more important for the origin of social behavior rather than its maintenance.

      In fact, species with workers that can lay eggs do have to deal with defections and usurpations more than species with sterile workers.

  2. I’m heading to the ant room tomorrow. I wonder if I will have to use my hand-to-hand combat skills to get into the building to the collection as I expect a throng of protesting kin-selection theory supporters to be waiting outside. Maybe Stef will finally tell me where Wilson’s secret escape tunnel is located.

  3. “I disagree with the conclusion that kin selection has little to do with social evolution, but as I’m short on blogging time today I will spare you the details.”

    No, don’t spare. I’d love to hear your thoughts, just having read the paper. And congratulations on the cover! 😉

  4. Pingback: More Support for the Superorganism Concept – MYRMECOS - Insect Photography - Insect Pictures

  5. Hey, nice. Formica obscuripes, right? My favorite ants! Awesome nests and so darn cute when they crawl on your hand and try their darndest to attack you with their little pinchers.

Leave a Reply