Anthropology - Other

What Survival of the Fittest Means



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Depending on which part of the world you hale from, the concept of "survival of the fittest" may hold a very precise meaning to you, regardless of whether you use faith or science to define your stance. More often than not, the evolution and development of mankind's history clings tightly to the idea of overcoming the changes in an environment to adapt to civilization (no matter the level of ingenuity) in order to thrive and live on. In the 1800s, an English naturalist named Charles Darwin established what is widely recognized as the premise for evolutionary theory by merely showing that some creatures are able to conform to their surroundings and flourish, even in dire extremes, while other species fade away into extinction. His scientific theory described in 'The Origin of Species' has paved the way for new developments and engineering in science, technology and global development.

But what does "survival of the fittest" truly mean? What did Darwin discover in his research? Simply this: that if you provide two or more equally capable species to an ever-changing environment, one will do better and eventually overcome the other. Without this seemingly minute ideal, the world we know today would never have been born. Humans walk on two feet, speak with vocal cords, breathe oxygen with their lungs and are able to combat most viral infestations due predominantly to Milena of evolving to their ever-changing surroundings. Hawks can see details hundreds of feet ahead and below while searching for prey, regardless of the atmospheric conditions. Whales can migrate for thousands of miles, communicating using complex melodic-sounding calls to their families and packs located a continent's length from them. The camel can store water in its humps for days or weeks, sparing it the painful demise of dehydration and likely death in its desert home. Snakes integrate ground vibrations with eyesight in order to track prey and successfully mate. These are just a few of the many different aspects of a species developing and honing its physical and neurological attributes in order to survive an ever-changing world.

The animal world is not the only adaptive species affected by Darwin's studies. Viruses, germs, and plants also conform to their environments in order to progressively overcome unwanted or unnecessary morphologies. We don't always notice these changes because they are typically subtle and rarely affect our daily lives on a general level. However, over time, these microscopic organisms provide more insight into our livelihoods and capabilities to survive. Every virus warrants our immune systems to work on a cure. And, with every cure, a new virus conforms to a stronger strand of the genome causing the original ailment. And when a poisonous plant is eaten so often by a breed of boar, for example, eventually that boar no longer grows sick or dies from exposure to the plant. In turn, the plant has to develop new ways to protect itself, either by mutating with another similar algae or pollen near by, or strengthening its potency.

It may be safe to say that where the world is now as a whole isn't the end. Development and adaptation are a continuing process. With every new introduction of disease, temperature delineation, species inter-mating, and eradication of 'unfit' animal kingdoms, we will continue to see how far the spectrum of continual change and absorption of our atmosphere stretches. We may not always see the changes, but they're there. And even the small steps and minuscule abnormalities will speak volumes of our growing necessity to mold to the world, and not the other way around.

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More about this author: Kristin Jackman

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