Natural Selection


selection: In Darwinism, the mechanism of natural selection is considered of major importance in the process of evolution. Popular formulations sometimes envisage a struggle for existence in which direct competition for mates or for various factors in the environment (e.g., food, water, and suitable space) counteracts the tendency toward overproduction of plants and animals resulting from the process of reproduction. But there are diverse ways other than direct struggle through which those organisms better adapted to the environment can survive and reproduce more successfully than those less fitted. A special form of natural selection, sexual selection, is also stressed in Darwinism. It attempts to account for secondary sexual characteristics that are not necessarily valuable in the struggle for existence. It assumes that the female selects as a mate one having the most highly developed of such characteristics, e.g., elaborate plumage or superior song, thereby perpetuating those characteristics. However, this interpretation is now questioned by many scientists. Artificial selection, the selection by humans of individuals best suited for their purposes, is common in plant and animal breeding.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Natural Selection: Selected full-text books and articles

The Origin of Species By Charles Darwin; Gillian Beer Oxford University Press, 1996
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
Natural Selection: Domains, Levels, and Challenges By George C. Williams Oxford University Press, 1992
Selection in Natural Populations By Jeffry B. Mitton Oxford University Press, 1997
The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance By Ernst Mayr Belknap Press, 1982
Librarian's tip: Chap. 11 "The Causation of Evolution: Natural Selection"
The Processes of Ongoing Human Evolution By Gabriel W. Lasker Wayne State University Press, 1960
Librarian's tip: "Natural Selection, Disease, and Ongoing Human Evolution, as Illustrated by the ABO Blood Groups" begins on p. 17
The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History By Stephen Jay Gould W. W. Norton & Company, 1980
Librarian's tip: Chap. 4 "Natural Selection and the Human Brain: Darwin vs. Wallace"
Languages and Genes: Can They Be Built Up through Random Change and Natural Selection? By Oller, John W., Jr Journal of Psychology and Theology, Vol. 30, No. 1, Spring 2002
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