The evolution of eusociality

Martin A. Nowak, Corina E. Tarnita, Edward O. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

592 Scopus citations

Abstract

Eusociality, in which some individuals reduce their own lifetime reproductive potential to raise the offspring of others, underlies the most advanced forms of social organization and the ecologically dominant role of social insects and humans. For the past four decades kin selection theory, based on the concept of inclusive fitness, has been the major theoretical attempt to explain the evolution of eusociality. Here we show the limitations of this approach. We argue that standard natural selection theory in the context of precise models of population structure represents a simpler and superior approach, allows the evaluation of multiple competing hypotheses, and provides an exact framework for interpreting empirical observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1057-1062
Number of pages6
JournalNature
Volume466
Issue number7310
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 26 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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    Nowak, M. A., Tarnita, C. E., & Wilson, E. O. (2010). The evolution of eusociality. Nature, 466(7310), 1057-1062. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature09205