Evolutionary Biology

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 94–105 | Cite as

Network Theory and the Formation of Groups Without Evolutionary Forces

  • Leonore FlemingEmail author
Research Article


This paper presents a modified random network model to illustrate how groups can form in the absence of evolutionary forces, assuming groups are collections of entities at any level of organization. This model is inspired by the Zero Force Evolutionary Law, which states that there is always a tendency for diversity and complexity to increase in any evolutionary system containing variation and heredity. That is, in the absence of evolutionary forces, the expectation is a continual increase in diversity and complexity at any level of biological hierarchy. I show that, when modeled, this expectation of increasing variation results not only in the formation of groups, but also in a higher probability of group formation than is found in a model that is purely random.


Network theory Network models Group formation Zero Force Evolutionary Law Biological hierarchy Major transitions in evolution 



I am eternally grateful to Eric Bair for helping me program, and for running large numbers of simulations for me. I am also incredibly thankful to Tim Schwuchow for helping me create equations to represent my model as well as for giving me moral support. Thanks also goes to Robert Brandon, Daniel McShea, Alex Rosenberg, Carl Simpson and David McCandlish, and to the Philosophy of Biology reading group at Duke University for giving me comments on my ideas when they were in their first stages.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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