On the advantages of information sharing

Michael Lachmann*, Guy Sella, Eva Jablonka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During the evolution of life, there have been several transitions in which individuals began to cooperate, forming higher levels of organization, and sometimes losing their independent reproductive identity. For example, multicellularity and insect societies evolved independently multiple times. Several factors that confer evolutionary advantages on higher levels of organization have been proposed. In this paper we highlight one additional factor: the sharing of information between individuals. Information sharing is not subject to the intrinsic conservation laws that characterize the sharing of physical resources. A simple model will illustrate how information sharing can result in aggregates in which the individuals both receive more information about their environment and pay less for it. This may have played a role in the evolution of higher levels of organization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1287-1293
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1450
StatePublished - 7 Jul 2000


  • Ensociality
  • Evolution
  • Information sharing
  • Multicellularity
  • Public goods


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