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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 publication




Journal article


Behav Brain Sci

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