Identifying behavioural novelty

Rachael L. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Although there is no in-principle impediment to an EvoDevo of behavior, such an endeavor is not as straightforward as one might think; many of the key terms and concepts used in EvoDevo are tailored to suit its traditional focus on morphology, and are consequently difficult to apply to behavior. In this light, the application of the EvoDevo conceptual toolkit to the behavioral domain requires the establishment of a set of tractable concepts that are readily applicable to behavioral characters. Here, I begin the type of theoretical work that needs to be undertaken in order to achieve this, focusing in particular on the key concept of ‘‘novelty.’’ Building on existing criteria used for the identification of behavioral homology from behavioral ecology, I develop a set of operational criteria for identifying novelty in the behavioral domain. These criteria provide a conceptual foundation for the study of novelty in behavioral traits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-148
Number of pages14
JournalBiological Theory
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavior
  • EvoDevo
  • Homology
  • Non-homology
  • Novelty


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