Toward inclusive theories of the evolution of musicality

Patrick E. Savage, Psyche Loui, Bronwyn Tarr, Adena Schachner, Luke Glowacki, Steven Mithen, W. Tecumseh Fitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


We compare and contrast the 60 commentaries by 109 authors on the pair of target articles by Mehr et al. and ourselves. The commentators largely reject Mehr et al.'s fundamental definition of music and their attempts to refute (1) our social bonding hypothesis, (2) byproduct hypotheses, and (3) sexual selection hypotheses for the evolution of musicality. Instead, the commentators generally support our more inclusive proposal that social bonding and credible signaling mechanisms complement one another in explaining cooperation within and competition between groups in a coevolutionary framework (albeit with some confusion regarding terminologies such as byproduct and exaptation). We discuss the proposed criticisms and extensions, with a focus on moving beyond adaptation/byproduct dichotomies and toward testing of cross-species, cross-cultural, and other empirical predictions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-140
Number of pages9
JournalBehavioral and Brain Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sept 30

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Toward inclusive theories of the evolution of musicality'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this