extended phenotype

Quick Reference

The concept, advanced by British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his 1982 book of the same title, that the phenotype of an organism extends beyond its body to encompass the organism's behaviour and the consequences of that behaviour. Dawkins cites a beaver's lake as an example. This manifestation of the beaver's instinctive dam-building activities is, he argues, an evolutionary adaptation just as much as, say, the beaver's coat, and is likewise subject to natural selection. Other instances include birds' nests, termite mounds, and spiders' webs.

Subjects: Psychology — Biological Sciences.

Reference entries

Richard Dawkins (b. 1941) English biologist