Animals Can't Be Perfect in all Characteristics

We can expect bodies to be well equipped to survive, but this does not mean they should be perfect with respect to any one dimension. An antelope might run faster, and be more likely to escape a leopard, if its legs were a little longer. But a rival antelope with longer legs, although it might be better equipped to outsprint a predator, has to pay for its long legs in some other department of the body's economy. The materials needed to make the extra bone and muscle in the longer legs have to be taken from somewhere else, so the longer-legged individual is more likely to die for reasons other than predation. Or it may even be more likely to die from predation because its longer legs, although they can run faster when intact, are more likely to break, in which case it can't run at all. A body is a patchwork of compromises. I shall return to this point in the chapter on arms races.


Energy and materials put into one characteristic means less for another; therefore, species must find balance.

Folksonomies: evolution adaptation species

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Lion (0.855012): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Point (0.832741): dbpedia | freebase
Space (0.773453): dbpedia | freebase
Predation (0.711363): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Characteristic (0.709811): dbpedia
The Extra (0.709793): dbpedia | freebase | yago
English-language films (0.694126): dbpedia

 The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Dawkins, Richard (2010-08-24), The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, Free Press, Retrieved on 2011-05-19
Folksonomies: evolution science