The perspective of this paper is to compare mathematical models for the evolutionary dynamics of genomes and languages. The quasispecies equation describes the evolution of genetic sequences under the influence of mutation and selection. A central result is an error threshold which specifies the minimum replication accuracy required for maintaining genetic information of a certain length. The language equation describes the evolution of communication, including the cultural evolution of grammar and the biological evolution of universal grammar. A central result is a coherence threshold which specifies certain conditions that universal grammar has to fulfill in order to induce coherent communication in a population.
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From Quasispecies to Universal Grammar
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Published Online: 2009-09-25
Published in Print: 2002-01