Convergent Evolution of Agriculture in Insects and Humans

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The evolution of agriculture among Attini (leaf-cutting ants), Macrotermitinae (termites), Xyleborini (ambrosia beetles), and Hominini (humans) seems a remarkable case of convergent evolution. There appear to be at least nine independent origins of agriculture among the insects, and at least seven among humans The purpose of this working group is to explore from a comparative framework (1) the processes of agricultural evolution, (2) the practices needed to maintain an agricultural food-getting strategy, and (3) the effects of agriculture on social organization and behavior among these disparate groups. Our hope is that such a comparative study will allow us to identify general evolutionary processes underlying this unique food-getting strategy.