Evolution and the Theory of Games
Did Darwin Get It Right? I want in this article to trace the history of an idea. It is beginning to become clear that a range of problems in evolution theory can most appropriately be attacked by a modification of the theory of games, a branch of mathematics first formulated by Von Neumann and Morgenstern in for the analysis of human conflicts. The problems are diverse and include not only the behaviour of animals in contest situations but also some problems in the evolution of genetic mechanisms and in the evolution of ecosystems. It is not, however, sufficient to take over the theory as it has been developed in sociology and apply it to evolution.
Skip to search form Skip to main content. John Maynard Smith and evolutionary game theory. JMS would probably have agreed with this. In an essay entitled 'Evolution and the Theory of Games' Maynard Smith , he set out to trace the history of this idea. View on PubMed.
Evolution and the Theory of Games is a book by the British evolutionary biologist John Maynard Smith on evolutionary game theory. In the book, John Maynard Smith summarises work on evolutionary game theory that had developed in the s, to which he made several important contributions. The book is also noted for being well written and not overly mathematically challenging. The main contribution to be had from this book is the introduction of the Evolutionarily Stable Strategy , or ESS, concept, which states that for a set of behaviours to be conserved over evolutionary time, they must be the most profitable avenue of action when common, so that no alternative behaviour can invade. So, for instance, suppose that in a population of frogs, males fight to the death over breeding ponds. This would be an ESS if any one cowardly frog that does not fight to the death always fares worse in fitness terms, of course.
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