Nav: Home

Special collection explores origin and evolution of play

December 16, 2015

KNOXVILLE--Research on the evolution and function of play at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) has culminated in a special issue of the journal Adaptive Behavior. The papers represent the first systematic use of computational and mathematical models to investigate the theoretical and empirical origins of play.

In a series of meetings from 2011 to 2013, the NIMBioS Working Group on Play, Evolution and Sociality brought together mathematicians, anthropologists, zoologists, neuroscientists, ecologists, psychologists and other top experts to examine play as a window into cognitive evolution and the rules of sociality.

Until the Working Group was established, the field lacked a mathematical and computational approaches for understanding how play evolves. Using mathematical tools, the group aimed to uncover factors predicting the dynamics, occurrence and trajectory of play in the animal kingdom, as well as explore the ecological, psychological and life history factors that facilitate and maintain play.

The six papers in the special issue include:
  • Modeling play: distinguishing between origins and current functions by Sergio M. Pellis, Gordon M. Burghardt, Elisabetta Palagi, and Marc Mangel

  • The evolution of social play by learning to cooperate by Sabine Durand and Jeffrey C. Schank

  • To play or not to play? That's a resource abundance question by Jeremy Auerbach, Andrew R Kanarek, and Gordon M Burghardt

  • State-dependent behavioral theory and the evolution of play by Nicholas Grunloh and Marc Mangel

  • Evolving the tactics of play fighting: insights from simulating the "keep away game" in rats by Heather C. Bell, Greg D. Bell, Jeffrey A. Schank, and Sergio M. Pellis

  • Evolutionary models for the retention of adult-adult social play in primates: The roles of diet and other factors associated with resource acquisition by Brian C. O'Meara, Kerrie Lewis Graham, Sergio M. Pellis, and Gordon M. Burghardt

-end-
The full special issue can be found at http://adb.sagepub.com/content/23/6.toc

Photo Caption: An adult Gelada monkey plays with a juvenile. A new special issue of Adaptive Behavior examines the evolution and origin of play via mathematical and computational approaches.
Photo Credit: Elisabetta Palagi

The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis is an NSF-supported center that brings together researchers from around the world to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries to investigate solutions to basic and applied problems in the life sciences.

CONTACT: Catherine Crawley, NIMBioS, +1-865-974-9350, ccrawley@nimbios.org

National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS)

Related Evolution Articles:

Prebiotic evolution: Hairpins help each other out
The evolution of cells and organisms is thought to have been preceded by a phase in which informational molecules like DNA could be replicated selectively.
How to be a winner in the game of evolution
A new study by University of Arizona biologists helps explain why different groups of animals differ dramatically in their number of species, and how this is related to differences in their body forms and ways of life.
The galloping evolution in seahorses
A genome project, comprising six evolutionary biologists from Professor Axel Meyer's research team from Konstanz and researchers from China and Singapore, sequenced and analyzed the genome of the tiger tail seahorse.
Fast evolution affects everyone, everywhere
Rapid evolution of other species happens all around us all the time -- and many of the most extreme examples are associated with human influences.
Landscape evolution and hazards
Landscapes are formed by a combination of uplift and erosion.
New insight into enzyme evolution
How enzymes -- the biological proteins that act as catalysts and help complex reactions occur -- are 'tuned' to work at a particular temperature is described in new research from groups in New Zealand and the UK, including the University of Bristol.
The evolution of Dark-fly
On Nov. 11, 1954, Syuiti Mori turned out the lights on a small group of fruit flies.
A look into the evolution of the eye
A team of researchers, among them a zoologist from the University of Cologne, has succeeded in reconstructing a 160 million year old compound eye of a fossil crustacean found in southeastern France visible.
Is evolution more intelligent than we thought?
Evolution may be more intelligent than we thought, according to a University of Southampton professor.
The evolution of antievolution policies
Organized opposition to the teaching of evolution in public schoolsin the United States began in the 1920s, leading to the famous Scopes Monkey trial.

Related Evolution Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Crisis
There's no greater threat to humanity than climate change. What can we do to stop the worst consequences? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can save our planet and whether we can do it in time. Guests include climate activist Greta Thunberg, chemical engineer Jennifer Wilcox, research scientist Sean Davis, food innovator Bruce Friedrich, and psychologist Per Espen Stoknes.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...