A Backward Question About Multilevel Selection: Can Species Selection Help Disentangle the Notion of Group Selection?
I maintain that a fresh insight into the notion of multilevel selection and its significance for the science of evolution may be gained once an empiricist stance to higher-level selection is preferred. This is why I choose not to focus on the abstract idea of “group selection”, as paradigmatic realization of multilevel selection, but instead I tackle the notion of species selection for which elementary empirical determinations are currently available. Following David Jablonski, I also maintain that species selection opens up a promising perspective on evaluating hypotheses about the contribution of different hierarchical components to macroevolutionary dynamics, and thus it presents itself as a source of new theory in evolutionary biology, beyond the classical debate over where to place the “focal level” of selection.
KeywordsSpecies selection Group selection Theory of evolution Macroevolution Generalized linear models David Jablonski
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