Anomalously slow attrition times for asymmetric populations with internal group dynamics

Zhenyuan Zhao, Juan Camilo Bohorquez, Alex Dixon, Neil F. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The many-body dynamics exhibited by living objects include group formation within a population and the nonequilibrium process of attrition between two opposing populations due to competition or conflict. We show analytically and numerically that the combination of these two dynamical processes generates an attrition duration T whose nonlinear dependence on population asymmetry x is in stark contrast to standard mass-action theories. A minority population experiences a longer survival time than two equally balanced populations, irrespective of whether or not the majority population adopts such an internal grouping. Adding a third population with predefined group sizes allows T(x) to be tailored. Our findings compare favorably to real-world observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number148701
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number14
StatePublished - Oct 2 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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