Starting with Darwin, biologists have asked how populations evolve from a low fitness state that is evolutionarily stable to a high fitness state that is not. Specifically of interest is the emergence of cooperation and multicellularity where the fitness of individuals often appears in conflict with that of the population. Theories of social evolution and evolutionary game theory have produced a number of fruitful results employing two-state two-body frameworks. In this study, we depart from this tradition and instead consider a multi-player, multi-state evolutionary game, in which the fitness of an agent is determined by its relationship to an arbitrary number of other agents.We show that populations organize themselves in one of four distinct phases of interdependence depending on one parameter, selection strength. Some of these phases involve the formation of specialized large-scale structures. We then describe how the evolution of independence can be manipulated through various external perturbations.
Vural, D. C., Isakov, A., & Mahadevan, L. (2015). The organization and control of an evolving interdependent population. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 12(108). https://doi.org/10.1098/rsif.2015.0044