Comment on Intelligence Equals This Simple Game

BenRayfield Sun, Oct 24, 2010
The following news article explains an example of the Rock Paper Scissors game in real evolution. The game is played between large groups of lizards in different areas, where each area has different proportions of the 3 types of male lizards. Combined with other things that affect evolution, the lizards evolve in more intelligent ways than you would normally expect from evolution because of their use of the Rock Paper Scissors competitions in the form of population ratio. The news article does not say that part, but there has to be some reason it evolved that way, and that is the only benefit that could come from it.

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The side-blotched lizard, Uta stansburiana, has three morphs differing in color and mating behavior, the UCSC explained in a news release this week.

* Males with orange throats can take territory from blue-throated males because they have more testosterone and body mass. As a result, orange males control large territories containing many females.
* Blue-throated males cooperate with each other to defend territories and closely guard females, so they are able to beat the sneaking strategy of yellow-throated males.
* Yellow-throated males are not territorial, but mimic female behavior and coloration to sneak onto the large territories of orange males to mate with females.

As this rock-paper-scissors game of the lizards cycled over the decades he studied them, Sinervo observed that the dominant morph in the population changed every four to five years. "It's like an evolutionary clock ticking between rock, paper, scissors then back to rock," he said in the UCSC statement.

Now a new study, funded in part by the National Geographic Society 's Committee for Research and Exploration, demonstrates that when the lizard's mating game collapses on one or two strategies it can begin to lead to a new species.