misconception about evolution (response to He Feng)

Chris Colby colby at biology.bu.edu
Mon May 5 06:34:46 EST 1997

I've trimmed the newsgroups line (slightly) and set follow-ups to

hefeng at cz3.nus.sg wrote:
> Hi! I am the high school student who raised the question on evolution.

> Second, the only driving force in the process of evolution is survival.

This is wrong. Replace "survival" with "reproduction" and you are back
on track. At the very least you are accurately describing natural
selection. Fitness is the reproductive rate of a type of organism
relative to other types in the population. There are many components to
fitness. Survival is one. Fertility, fecundity and sexual attractiveness
are some other important components. The alley cat that runs across the
road, finds mates and leaves offspring is more fit than one who doesn't
run across the raod and find mates. This is true even if the "road
runner" gets run over at an earlier age.

In addition, there are other mechanisms of evolution besides natural
selection; they are: mutation, genetic drift, recombination and gene

If you'd like to learn more about evolution, check out my "Introduction
to Evolutionary Biology" on the talk.origins web page. (I wrote it when
I was a grad. student studying evolution.) It's at:


Chris Colby

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