Thursday, December 09, 2010

Survival Of The Fittest

What does it mean, in evolutionary terms, to be "fit"? One explanation can be given in Malthusian terms as the growth rate of a population was deemed, by evolutionist R A Fisher (in 1930), as as the measure of fitness of a genotype within an environment. Or, to put it bluntly, the higher the population growth rate then the "fitter" the population.

This may indeed be true and relates to an evolutionary principle known as differential reproduction.

However, the fitter a population is then the quicker it reaches the carrying capacity of its environment...the limits to growth.

Hence, fitness is both a blessing and a curse for any population. The fit may outbreed the unfit, but will always face limits to growth.



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