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Animal Innovation$
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Simon M. Reader and Kevin N. Laland

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198526223

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198526223.001.0001

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Behavioural Innovation: A Neglected Issue in the Ecological and Evolutionary Literature?

Behavioural Innovation: A Neglected Issue in the Ecological and Evolutionary Literature?

(p.63) Chapter 3 Behavioural Innovation: A Neglected Issue in the Ecological and Evolutionary Literature?
Animal Innovation

Daniel Sol

Oxford University Press

This chapter states that innovative behaviours are of considerable importance for understanding the ecology and, in turn, the evolution of animals. From an ecological perspective, innovatory propensity may influence biodiversity patterns through its influence on some of the processes that determine the gain and loss of species within the community. From an evolutionary standpoint, it may affect the rate of evolutionary divergence by altering the selective pressures to which individuals are exposed. The growing needs to understand the consequences of innovative behaviours and novel improvements in methods to measure innovation have stimulated a number of recent studies. Here, the chapter uses these new advances to illustrate the importance of behavioural innovation in some of the ecological and evolutionary processes that govern biodiversity. It examines the adaptive value of behaving in a flexible way and discusses new developments in the methods of quantifying innovatory capacity. The chapter further presents a series of comparative studies that seek to understand the role of this capacity in three different biological processes: the invasion of new environments, the risk of extinction, and the rate of evolutionary diversification.

Keywords:   behaviour, ecology, evolution, biodiversity, divergence, innovation

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