Sunday, October 19, 2014

My Year of Darwin 10/19/2014: more on rare species

 Charles Darwin

"rare species will be less quickly modified or improved within any given period, and they will consequently be beaten in the race for life by the modified descendants of the commoner species." Charles Darwin, Origin of Species 1st edition (on Kindle)

This gets a bit tricky. We know that natural selection acts more quickly with rarer species but the ability to create new phenotypes will be diminished because (1) inbreeding makes smaller populations more genetically homogeneous and (2) since mutations are rare, small populations are less likely to get a particular mutations. Just like the lottery. 


  1. But if you buy in to the Escalation Hypothesis, the second part of his statement is wrong (in the long, rather than the short term) given mass extinctions.

  2. I'm more in line with what Douglas Adams would probably say about evolution: completely predictable accident upon accident (my words but his sentiment).