Evolutionary dynamics of recent selection for enhanced social cognition [article]

Sara E. Miller, Andrew W. Legan, Michael Henshaw, Katherine L. Ostevik, Kieran Samuk, Floria M. K. Uy, H. Kern Reeve, Michael J. Sheehan
2018 bioRxiv   pre-print
AbstractCognitive abilities can vary dramatically among species though little is known about the dynamics of cognitive evolution. Here we demonstrate that recent evolution of visual individual recognition in the paper wasp Polistes fuscatus is the target of arguably the strongest positive selective pressure in the species' recent history. The most extreme selective sweeps in P. fuscatus are associated with genes known to be involved in long-term memory formation, mushroom body development and
more » ... sual processing – all traits that have recently evolved in association with individual recognition. Cognitive evolution appears to have been driven initially by selection on standing variation in perceptual traits followed by both hard and soft sweeps on learning and memory. Evolutionary modeling reveals that intense selection as observed in P. fuscatus is likely the norm during the early stages of cognitive evolution. These data provide insight into the dynamics of cognition evolution demonstrating that social selection for increased intelligence can lead to rapid multi-genic adaptation of enhanced recognition abilities.
doi:10.1101/425215 fatcat:no3poopzbbbeza7lflbqksnva4