Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

Lack of evidentiary criteria for exaptations?

James L. Dannemiller a1
a1 Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, WI 53705


Andrews et al. criticize Gould and colleagues for (1) failing to provide evidentiary criteria for accepting exaptationist alternatives to adaptationist explanations, and (2) seeing exaptations and spandrels as being far more frequent than adaptations in the evolutionary history of modern humans. I argue that the first of these criticisms is wrong, and the second reflects a bias for the classical version of Darwinian evolutionary theory, which Gould was trying to expand by proposing concepts like exaptation and spandrels.