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© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Natural Selection: Selected full-text books and articles

The Origin of Species
Charles Darwin; Gillian Beer.
Oxford University Press, 1996
Natural Selection: Domains, Levels, and Challenges
George C. Williams.
Oxford University Press, 1992
Time, Chance, and Organizations: Natural Selection in a Perilous Environment
Herbert Kaufman.
Chatham House, 1991 (2nd edition)
Philosophical Darwinism: On the Origin of Knowledge by Means of Natural Selection
Peter Munz.
Routledge, 1993
Physics and Politics: Or, Thoughts on the Application of the Principles of "Natural Selection" and "Inheritance" to Political Society
Walter Bagehot.
A.A. Knopf, 1948 (Revised edition)
Selection in Natural Populations
Jeffry B. Mitton.
Oxford University Press, 1997
Natural Selection and Social Theory: Selected Papers of Robert L. Trivers
Robert Trivers.
Oxford University Press, 2002
The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance
Ernst Mayr.
Belknap Press, 1982
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 11 "The Causation of Evolution: Natural Selection"
The Processes of Ongoing Human Evolution
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
Stephen Jay Gould.
W. W. Norton & Company, 1980
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Natural Selection and the Human Brain: Darwin vs. Wallace"
Nature's Mind: The Biological Roots of Thinking, Emotions, Sexuality, Language, and Intelligence
Michael S. Gazzaniga.
Basic Books, 1992
Neural Darwinism: The Theory of Neuronal Group Selection
Gerald M. Edelman.
Basic Books, 1987
Languages and Genes: Can They Be Built Up through Random Change and Natural Selection?
Oller, John W., Jr.
Journal of Psychology and Theology, Vol. 30, No. 1, Spring 2002
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