Relativity of behavioral interactions in socially structured populations

Ronald K. Chesser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Mammals form a variety of inter-individual associations within populations. Because associations between individuals usually are typified by different degrees of genetic correlations within and among groups, evolution of behaviors appropriate to each type will differ also. I reviewed alternative types of behavior and examined conditions favorable for the evolution of social groups. F-statistics are fundamental to evolution of social behaviors and estimation of spatial and temporal dynamics of gene frequencies. Therefore, mating and dispersal tactics within populations establish the genetic background which, in turn, influences selection of other behavioral characteristics. Because evolution of social behaviors is relative to proportions of gene diversity among groups, conditions favoring evolutionary change may remain relatively constant despite continous losses in genetic variance over time. Evolution of spite and behaviors favoring family groups may be limited by low reproductive rates in many mammals. Low reproductive potential also may be a primary reason that many mammalian social groupings are formed among offspring of related families. Mating behaviors most conducive to the formation of inter-family social groups are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)713-724
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Mammalogy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1998


  • Evolution
  • F-statistics
  • Genetics
  • Mating systems
  • Polygyny
  • Social behavior


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