Darwin’s “Fecundity Selection” Theory Must Be Revised, New Report Suggests; Fewer Offspring May Be Advantage Due to Better Individual Care; Possible Effects of Male Involvement and Climate Change Must Also Be Considered

The "Fecundity Selection" theory, a key concept in Darwin’s theory of evolution that suggests that nature favors larger females that can produce greater numbers of off-spring must be redefined, according to scientists behind ground-breaking research published online on November 3, 2015 in Biological Reviews. The new article is titled “Fecundity Selection Theory: Concepts and Evidence.” The study concludes that the theory of fecundity selection, one of Charles Darwin’s three main evolutionary principles, also known as “fertility selection,” should be re-defined so that it no longer rests on the idea that more fertile females are more successful in evolutionary terms. The research highlights the observation that too many offspring can have severe negative implications for mothers and the success of their descendants, and that that males can also affect the evolutionary success of a brood. Darwin’s theory of fecundity selection was postulated in 1874 and, together with the principles of natural selection and sexual selection, remains a fundamental component of modern evolutionary theory. The fecundity selection theory describes the process of reproductive success among organisms as being defined by the number of successful offspring that reach breeding age. After years of research, however, an evolutionary biologist (Daniel Pincheira-Donoso, Ph.D.) from the Department of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, UK, and his colleague John Hunt, Ph.D., also from the University of Lincoln, have now proposed a revised version of the theory of fecundity selection, which recommends an updated definition, adjusts its traditional predictions, and incorporates important new biological terms.
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