Competition Causes Death

Biologists have persistently overestimated the importance of physical causes of premature death rather than biological ones. In virtually any account of evolution, drought, frost, wind, or starvation looms large as the enemy of life. The great struggle, we are told, is to adapt to these conditions. Marvels of physical adaptation—the camel's hump, the polar bear's fur, the rotifer's boil-resistant tunare held to be among evolution's greatest achievements. The first ecological theories of sex were all directed at explaining this adaptability to the physical environment. But with the tangled bank, a different theme has begun to be heard, and in the Red Queen's march it is the dominant tune. The things that kill animals or prevent them from reproducing are only rarely physical factors. Far more often other creatures are involved—parasites, predators, and competitors. A water flea that is starving in a crowded pond is the victim not of food shortage but of competition. Predators and parasites probably cause most of the world's deaths, directly or indirectly When a tree falls in the forest, it has usually been weakened by a fungus. When a herring meets its end, it is usually in the mouth of a bigger fish or a in a net. What killed your ancestors two centuries or more ago? Smallpox, tuberculosis, influenza, pneumonia, plague, scarlet fever. diarrhea. Starvation or accidents may have weakened people, but infection killed them. A few of the wealthier ones died of old age or cancer or heart attacks, but not many.


Animals die from competition with other animals, few die of natural causes.

Folksonomies: evolution natural selection competition

/food and drink (0.432579)
/society/unrest and war (0.407764)
/health and fitness/disease (0.382093)

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Red Queen\:Organization (0.815163 (negative:-0.726094)), evolution\:City (0.560759 (positive:0.282580)), tuberculosis:HealthCondition (0.526475 (negative:-0.534815)), pneumonia:HealthCondition (0.512286 (negative:-0.656774)), plague:HealthCondition (0.503549 (negative:-0.677549)), fever.:HealthCondition (0.413341 (negative:-0.722836)), two centuries:Quantity (0.413341 (neutral:0.000000))

Life (0.971078): dbpedia | freebase
Death (0.795010): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Famine (0.665180): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Causes of death (0.611081): dbpedia
Ecology (0.594241): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Malnutrition (0.576970): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Old age (0.572496): dbpedia | freebase
Disease (0.555235): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc

 The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Ridley , Matt (2003-05-01), The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature, Harper Perennial, Retrieved on 2011-05-03
Folksonomies: evolution culture sex evolutionary psychology