The evolutionary socioecology of gestural communication
This paper begins with a brief introduction to gestures in the context of communication, multi-process selection theory, and evolutionary socio-ecology. Evolutionary ecology asks, and seeks to answer the question of under what ecological conditions selection favors what kinds of characteristics including the behavioral characteristics oriented towards the physical environment and other species. While communication is sometimes involved in interactions among species, it is most prevalent among members of the same population or species. Evolutionary socio-ecology then asks and seeks to answer the same question about ecologically versus socially oriented characteristics as well as about the purely social. In discussing some general principles of the evolutionary socio-ecology of communication including gestures, this paper pays particular attention to the sometimes cooperative, sometimes antagonistic, and often mixed nature of social communication. It concludes with a discussion of what determines the ‘loudness’ of signals such as the vigor of gestures and what ‘rituals’ are communicating.