Convergent Evolution of Behavioral Function

  • Mario NegrelloEmail author
Part of the Springer Series in Cognitive and Neural Systems book series (SSCNS, volume 1)


The invention of behavioral function is often a punctuated event, whereas the development of function is a gradual process. The chapter includes examples from the evolutionary robotics tracking experiment introduced in the previous chapter and shows how both gradual and discontinuous improvement relate to the discovery of function. Attractor landscapes are a conceptual tool that show how invariants appear as agents converge to function. In nature, we find analogies in behavioral function across phyla and taxa, which also exhibit analogous solutions. Analogies in the form and behavior of organisms derive from the ideal implementations of function to which evolution may converge. Convergent evolution towards behavioral function underlies the appearance of instincts and analogous behavior of different organisms. Convergence and divergence also collaborate to resolve an old controversy about punctuated equilibria. In the interplay between the two, an answer can be given to Stephen Jay Gould’s question of what would happen if the evolutionary tape were replayed. The chapter ends with a list of the sources of constancy and variability in behavior.


Motor Unit Chaotic Attractor Convergent Evolution Gradual Improvement Functional Behavior 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Okinawa Institute of Science and TechnologyOkinawaJapan

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