Maynard Smith: amplifying the reasons for signal reliability

Harper, D G C (2006) Maynard Smith: amplifying the reasons for signal reliability. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 239 (2). pp. 203-209. ISSN 0022-5193

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One of the many questions to which John Maynard Smith contributed was that of why most animal signals are reliable. He initially rejected the handicap argument but gradually accepted it, a process I briefly describe. This episode illustrated his preference for mathematical models over verbal ones, and the generosity with which he could change his mind. Even after accepting that some signals are reliable because of their strategic costs, he argued for a pluralistic approach to signal reliability. Signal complexity was a developing interest when he died. Signals usually involve several components, some of which appear to amplify other signal components. The terms amplifier and index require more thought to reduce the scope for semantic confusion. I conclude by describing Maynard Smith's fascination with peacocks Pavo cristatus.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Depositing User: David Harper
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:08
Last Modified: 18 Jun 2012 14:24
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