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BioMed Central Page 1 of 8

Summary: BioMed Central
Page 1 of 8
(page number not for citation purposes)
BMC Evolutionary Biology
Open AccessResearch article
Environmental adversity and uncertainty favour cooperation
Peter Andras*1, John Lazarus2 and Gilbert Roberts2
Address: 1School of Computing Science, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK and 2Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University,
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Email: Peter Andras* - peter.andras@ncl.ac.uk; John Lazarus - j.lazarus@ncl.ac.uk; Gilbert Roberts - gilbert.roberts@ncl.ac.uk
* Corresponding author
Background: A major cornerstone of evolutionary biology theory is the explanation of the
emergence of cooperation in communities of selfish individuals. There is an unexplained tendency
in the plant and animal world with examples from alpine plants, worms, fish, mole-rats, monkeys
and humans for cooperation to flourish where the environment is more adverse (harsher) or
more unpredictable.
Results: Using mathematical arguments and computer simulations we show that in more adverse
environments individuals perceive their resources to be more unpredictable, and that this
unpredictability favours cooperation. First we show analytically that in a more adverse environment


Source: Andras, Peter - School of Computing Science, University of Newcastle upon Tyne


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences