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ORIGINAL ARTICLE doi:10.1111/j.1558-5646.2011.01477.x
 

Summary: ORIGINAL ARTICLE
doi:10.1111/j.1558-5646.2011.01477.x
SURVIVAL OF THE WEAKEST IN N-PERSON
DUELS AND THE MAINTENANCE OF
VARIATION UNDER CONSTANT SELECTION
Marco Archetti1,2,3
1
Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge,
Massachusetts 02138
3
E-mail: marco.archetti@unibas.ch
Received May 9, 2011
Accepted September 27, 2011
The persistence of extensive variation in nature seems to stand against the most general principle of evolution by natural selection:
in antagonistic interactions, the stronger type is expected to replace the weaker. Game theory shows that, however, in contrast
to this intuitive expectation for interactions between two players, strategic considerations on fitness maximization in repeated
pairwise interactions between three players (truels) or more (N-person duels) lead to what can be dubbed "survival of the weakest":
the weakest individual can have the highest fitness. A paradox arises: competitive skills cannot be improved by natural selection,
unless we assume mutations with strong effects or unless we assume that interactions are exclusively between two individuals. The
paradox disappears, however, with more realistic assumptions (a mixture of duels and truels; the attacked individual backfires; the

  

Source: Archetti, Marco - Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine