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  1. Thomas C. Scott-Phillips, Kevin N. Laland, David M. Shuker, Thomas E. Dickins & Stuart A. West, The Niche Construction Perspective: A Critical Appraisal.
    Niche construction refers to the activities of organisms that bring about changes in their environments, many of which are evolutionarily and ecologically consequential. Advocates of niche construction theory (NCT) believe that standard evolutionary theory fails to recognize the full importance of niche construction, and consequently propose a novel view of evolution, in which niche construction and its legacy over time (ecological inheritance) are described as evolutionary processes, equivalent in importance to natural selection. Here, we subject NCT to critical evaluation, in (...)
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  2. Kevin N. Laland, John Odling-Smee, William Hoppitt & Tobias Uller (2013). More on How and Why: Cause and Effect in Biology Revisited. Biology and Philosophy 28 (5):719-745.
    In 1961, Ernst Mayr published a highly influential article on the nature of causation in biology, in which he distinguished between proximate and ultimate causes. Mayr argued that proximate causes (e.g. physiological factors) and ultimate causes (e.g. natural selection) addressed distinct ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions and were not competing alternatives. That distinction retains explanatory value today. However, the adoption of Mayr’s heuristic led to the widespread belief that ontogenetic processes are irrelevant to evolutionary questions, a belief that has (1) hindered (...)
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  3. Kevin N. Laland, John Odling-Smee, William Hoppitt & Tobias Uller (2013). More on How and Why: A Response to Commentaries. Biology and Philosophy 28 (5):793-810.
    We are grateful to the commentators for taking the time to respond to our article. Too many interesting and important points have been raised for us to tackle them all in this response, and so in the below we have sought to draw out the major themes. These include problems with both the term ‘ultimate causation’ and the proximate-ultimate causation dichotomy more generally, clarification of the meaning of reciprocal causation, discussion of issues related to the nature of development and phenotypic (...)
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  4. Alex Mesoudi, Simon Blanchet, Anne Charmantier, Étienne Danchin, Laurel Fogarty, Eva Jablonka, Kevin N. Laland, Thomas J. H. Morgan, Gerd B. Müller, F. John Odling-Smee & Benoît Pujol (2013). Is Non-Genetic Inheritance Just a Proximate Mechanism? A Corroboration of the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis. Biological Theory 7 (3):189-195.
    What role does non-genetic inheritance play in evolution? In recent work we have independently and collectively argued that the existence and scope of non-genetic inheritance systems, including epigenetic inheritance, niche construction/ecological inheritance, and cultural inheritance—alongside certain other theory revisions—necessitates an extension to the neo-Darwinian Modern Synthesis (MS) in the form of an Extended Evolutionary Synthesis (EES). However, this argument has been challenged on the grounds that non-genetic inheritance systems are exclusively proximate mechanisms that serve the ultimate function of calibrating organisms (...)
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  5. Kevin N. Laland & Gillian Brown (2011). Sense and Nonsense: Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Behaviour. OUP Oxford.
    Evolutionary theory is one of the most wide-ranging and inspiring of scientific ideas. It offers a battery of methods that can be used to interpret human behaviour. But the legitimacy of this exercise is at the centre of a heated controversy that has raged for over a century. Many evolutionary biologists, anthropologists and psychologists are optimistic that evolutionary principles can be applied to human behaviour, and have offered evolutionary explanations for a wide range of human characteristics, such as homicide, religion (...)
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  6. Kevin N. Laland & Michael J. O'Brien (2011). Cultural Niche Construction: An Introduction. Biological Theory 6 (3):191-202.
  7. John Odling-Smee & Kevin N. Laland (2011). Ecological Inheritance and Cultural Inheritance: What Are They and How Do They Differ? Biological Theory 6 (3):220-230.
  8. Luke Rendell, Laurel Fogarty, William J. E. Hoppitt, Thomas J. H. Morgan, Mike M. Webster & Kevin N. Laland (2011). Cognitive Culture: Theoretical and Empirical Insights Into Social Learning Strategies. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 15 (2):68-76.
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  9. Kevin N. Laland (2009). Niche Construction, Human Behavioural Ecology and Evolutionary Psychology. In Robin Dunbar & Louise Barrett (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology. Oup Oxford.
     
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  10. Kevin N. Laland, John Odling-Smee, Marcus W. Feldman & Jeremy Kendal (2009). Conceptual Barriers to Progress Within Evolutionary Biology. Foundations of Science 14 (3):195-216.
    In spite of its success, Neo-Darwinism is faced with major conceptual barriers to further progress, deriving directly from its metaphysical foundations. Most importantly, neo-Darwinism fails to recognize a fundamental cause of evolutionary change, “niche construction”. This failure restricts the generality of evolutionary theory, and introduces inaccuracies. It also hinders the integration of evolutionary biology with neighbouring disciplines, including ecosystem ecology, developmental biology, and the human sciences. Ecology is forced to become a divided discipline, developmental biology is stubbornly difficult to reconcile (...)
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  11. Rachel L. Kendal, Lewis Dean & Kevin N. Laland (2007). Objectivism Should Not Be a Casualty of Innovation's Operationalization. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30 (4):413-414.
    We agree with Ramsey et al. regarding the need for new methods and concepts in the study of innovation, and welcome their initiative, but are concerned that their operationalization is over-reliant on subjective judgements.
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  12. Alex Mesoudi & Kevin N. Laland (2007). Extending the Behavioral Sciences Framework: Clarification of Methods, Predictions, and Concepts. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30 (1):36-37.
    We applaud Gintis's attempt to provide an evolutionary-based framework for the behavioral sciences, and note a number of similarities with our own recent cultural evolutionary structure for the social sciences. Gintis's proposal would be further strengthened by a greater emphasis on additional methods to evolutionary game theory, clearer empirical predictions, and a broader consideration of cultural transmission. (Published Online April 27 2007).
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  13. Neeltje J. Boogert, David M. Paterson & Kevin N. Laland (2006). The Implications of Niche Construction and Ecosystem Engineering for Conservation Biology. BioScience 56 (7):570-578.
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  14. Alex Mesoudi, Andrew Whiten & Kevin N. Laland (2006). A Science of Culture: Clarifications and Extensions. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4):366-375.
    We are encouraged that the majority of commentators endorse our evolutionary framework for studying culture, and several suggest extensions. Here we clarify our position, dwelling on misunderstandings and requests for exposition. We reiterate that using evolutionary biology as a model for unifying the social sciences within a single synthetic framework can stimulate a more progressive and rigorous science of culture. (Published Online November 9 2006).
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  15. Alex Mesoudi, Andrew Whiten & Kevin N. Laland (2006). Towards a Unified Science of Cultural Evolution. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4):329-347.
    We suggest that human culture exhibits key Darwinian evolutionary properties, and argue that the structure of a science of cultural evolution should share fundamental features with the structure of the science of biological evolution. This latter claim is tested by outlining the methods and approaches employed by the principal subdisciplines of evolutionary biology and assessing whether there is an existing or potential corresponding approach to the study of cultural evolution. Existing approaches within anthropology and archaeology demonstrate a good match with (...)
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  16. Bennett G. Galef & Kevin N. Laland (2005). Social Learning in Animals: Empirical Studies and Theoretical Models. BioScience 55 (6):489-499.
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  17. Kevin N. Laland, John Odling-Smee & Marcus W. Feldman (2005). On the Breadth and Significance of Niche Construction: A Reply to Griffiths, Okasha and Sterelny. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 20 (1):37-55.
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  18. Kevin N. Laland (2004). Extending the Extended Phenotype. Biology and Philosophy 19 (3):313-325.
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  19. Rachel L. Day, Kevin N. Laland & F. John Odling-Smee (2003). Rethinking Adaptation: The Niche-Construction Perspective. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 46 (1):80-95.
  20. Kevin N. Laland (2003). Gene–Culture Coevolution. In L. Nadel (ed.), Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. Nature Publishing Group.
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  21. Kevin N. Laland & Yfke Van Bergen (2003). Experimental Studies of Innovation in the Guppy. In Simon M. Reader & Kevin N. Laland (eds.), Animal Innovation. Oup Oxford.
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  22. Simon M. Reader & Kevin N. Laland (eds.) (2003). Animal Innovation. OUP Oxford.
    In 1953 a young female Japanese macaque called Imo began washing sweet potatoes before eating them, presumably to remove dirt and sand grains. Soon other monkeys had adopted this behaviour, and potato washing gradually spread throughout the troop. When, three years after her first invention, Imo devised a second novel foraging behaviour, that of separating wheat from sand by throwing mixed handfuls into water and scooping out the floating grains, she was almost instantly heralded around the world as a 'monkey (...)
     
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  23. Rachel L. Day, Jeremy R. Kendal & Kevin N. Laland (2001). Validating Cultural Transmission in Cetaceans. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (2):330-331.
    The evidence of high cognitive abilities in cetaceans does not stand up to close scrutiny under the standards established by laboratory researchers. This is likely to lead to a sterile debate between laboratory and field researchers unless fresh ways of taking the debate forward are found. A few suggestions as to how to do this are proposed.
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  24. Kevin N. Laland (2001). The Extended Organism: The Physiology of Animal-Built Structures (Review). Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 44 (2):297-300.
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  25. Kevin N. Laland, F. John Odling-Smee & Marcus W. Feldman (2000). Group Selection: A Niche Construction Perspective. Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (1-2):1-2.
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  26. Kevin N. Laland, John Odling-Smee & Marcus W. Feldman (2000). Niche Construction, Biological Evolution, and Cultural Change. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (1):131-146.
    We propose a conceptual model that maps the causal pathways relating biological evolution to cultural change. It builds on conventional evolutionary theory by placing emphasis on the capacity of organisms to modify sources of natural selection in their environment (niche construction) and by broadening the evolutionary dynamic to incorporate ontogenetic and cultural processes. In this model, phenotypes have a much more active role in evolution than generally conceived. This sheds light on hominid evolution, on the evolution of culture, and on (...)
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  27. Kevin N. Laland, John Odling-Smee & Marcus W. Feldman (2000). Niche Construction Earns its Keep. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (1):164-172.
    Our response contains a definition of niche construction, illustrations of how it changes the evolutionary process, and clarifications of our conceptual model. We argue that the introduction of niche construction into evolutionary thinking earns its keep; we illustrate this argument in our discussion of rates of genetic and cultural evolution, memes and phenogenotypes, creativity, the EEA (environment of evolutionary adaptedness), and group selection.
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