ranking biological success

T80SMS1 at MVS.CSO.NIU.EDU T80SMS1 at MVS.CSO.NIU.EDU
Tue Jan 11 09:59:11 EST 1994


The problem with this success discussion is that people are
trying to come up with an absolute measure.  If we think of
"success" as a measure of "fitness" then we would realize that
it is always a RELATIVE measure.  In that case the measure
should always be used between sister "entities".  For
example, two individuals in a population, two populations,
two sibling species, two sibling genera, etc.  Thus, a
comparison between humans and ants is meaningless.  One
could compare humans and other great apes or compare
the phylum cordata with the phylum arthropoda.  The most
reasonable measure of long-term fitness that I have come
across is the duration of the clade (species, genus, etc.).
See chapter 2 of Endler, Natural Selection in the Wild,
Princeton University Press, for an illuminating discussion
on this issue.

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