Re: Memetic vulnerability: was: Faking It

From: Chris Taylor (
Date: Thu Jul 19 2001 - 13:01:12 BST

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    > [is that what they call convergent evolution?]
    Yup. Bang on.

    > "flightless" memes
    What a great phrase - lol as they say.

    The point of resident's advantage is that you are in an environment you
    know, and have fine-tuned to (become ensconced as Lawrence succinctly
    put it), in a way that a new invader cannot have done (for an animal,
    knowing your environment well, for any organism, being closely adapted
    to local conditions etc.). So that gives the resident the advantage when
    all other things are equal. If the invader is a lot better it will win
    usually (NZ with cats etc. is a bad example because there was no
    equivalent resident predator before, just an 'empty' niche).

    I have to tell this story now, just to show that whenever you think
    you've found a rule, in biology anyway, you'll almost always find an
    exception. The rule is 'resident always wins' (implicitly - all other
    things being more or less equal). In Mexico (I think) there is a species
    of spider where the resident *always* loses. These little guys live in
    clusters of small single-spider burrows, and if one gets displaced for
    whatever reason, it runs into a neighbour's burrow, the neighbour is
    displaced and runs into another neighbour's burrow, who is displaced,
    and so on until someone finally goes into the burrow of the spider who
    started it all. Bizarre and apparently totally maladaptive - I have no
    idea why they do it.

    In truth, residents usually win because if you assume the system to be
    in equilibrium, the biggest will already have acquired the good stuff,
    and, being the biggest, will tend to keep it. Resident's advantage is
    only really significant when the protagonists are otherwise well

     Chris Taylor ( »people»chris

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