[ExI] ‘Survival of fittest’ is disputed

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Tue Aug 24 21:10:15 UTC 2010

On 8/24/10, Will Steinberg wrote:
> Isn't "living space" an item in a subset of survival needs like food and
> water?  I fail to see how the ability to take advantage of living space is
> any different than an ability which facilitates gathering or reproduction.
> Natural selection = species who thrive best in the environment reproduce and
> multiply
> living space = the environment
> Natural selection = Species who are best able to take advantage of "living
> space" reproduce and multiply
> Competition between species is a smaller part of the big picture.  Those
> interspecies battles are in fact part of "living space"--European history
> keeps wanting me to say "Lebensraum"--which equates to the summed selection
> pressures of the environment.

I think I agree with what you've written. And I think the new study
does as well.

I think the study is just reminding us that humans don't rule the
world because they out-competed all the opposition. The disaster that
killed off the dinosaurs left the field clear for mammals. There were
other mass extinctions as well, of course, some of which killed up to
about 70% of all land animals.

According to National Geographic:
After nearly going extinct 150,000 years ago, humankind split into
small groups—living in isolation for nearly a hundred thousand years
before "reuniting" and migrating out of Africa, a new gene study says.
At one point our species may have been down to as few as 2,000
individuals, probably due to climate change—a longstanding theory
bolstered by the new findings.

It is just our good luck that a different mass extinction event didn't
kill off all the mammals that led to humans or a few years more
drought didn't finish off humans 70,000 years ago.


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