Mean extinction times in cyclic coevolutionary rock-paper-scissors dynamics

Markus Schütt, Jens Christian Claussen


Dynamical mechanisms that can stabilize the coexistence or diversity in biology are generally of fundamental interest. In contrast to many two-strategy evolutionary games, games with three strategies and cyclic dominance like the rock-paper-scissors game (RPS) stabilize coexistence and thus preserve biodiversity in this system. In the limit of infinite populations, resembling the traditional picture of evolutionary game theory, replicator equations predict the existence of a fixed point in the interior of the phase space. But in finite populations, strategy frequencies will run out of the fixed point because of stochastic fluctuations, and strategies can even go extinct. For three different processes and for zero-sum and non-zero-sum RPS as well, we present results of extensive simulations for the mean extinction time (MET), depending on the number of agents N, and we introduce two analytical approaches for the derivation of the MET.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 11.03.2010


Dive into the research topics of 'Mean extinction times in cyclic coevolutionary rock-paper-scissors dynamics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this