How human behavior can impact the evolution of genetically-mediated behavior in wild non-human species

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Humans intensely modify the ecosystems we inhabit. Many of the impacts that this behavior can have on other species also sharing these spaces are obvious. A prime example is the devastating current extinction crisis. Yet some populations of non-human, non-domesticated species survive or even appear to thrive in heavily disturbed or human-built habitats. Theoretically, this apparent paradox could be facilitated partly by the evolution of genetically-mediated trait adaptations to the impacts of human behavior. At the least, persistence in strongly modified habitats would provide requisite selection pressures for this process to potentially occur in the future. In fact, we have a growing number of well-characterized examples of morphological trait adaptations to human behavior. However, our knowledge of genetically-mediated behavioral adaptations in similar contexts is less well developed. In this review I set up and discuss several evolutionary scenarios by which human behavior might have impacted the evolution of genetically mediated behavior in non-human, non-domestic species and highlight several approaches that could be used in future studies of this process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-342
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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