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theory of selectionSelektionstheorie (ger.)

  • The conceptual framework in which the diversity, adaptation and pattern of similarity and difference of organisms are explained on the basis of their differential survival and reproduction.  
    theory of selection
    Darwin, C. [1842]. [Sketch of 1842]. In: The Foundations of the Origin of Species. Two Essays Written in 1842 and 1844 (Works, vol. 10, London 1986): 10; 15.

    The nature or condition of certain structures has been thought by some naturalists to be of no use to the possessor1, but to have been formed wholly for the good of other species; thus certain fruit and seeds have been thought to have been made nutritious for certain animals—numbers of insects, especially in their larval state, to exist for the same end—certain fish to be bright coloured to aid certain birds of prey in catching them, &c. Now could this be proved (which I am far from admitting) the theory of natural selection would be quite overthrown; for it is evident that selection depending on the advantage over others of one individual with some slight deviation would never produce a structure or quality profitable only to another species.

    Darwin, C. [1844]. [Essay of 1844]. In: Darwin, F. (ed.) (1909). The Foundations of The Origin of Species: 130.


    On the theory of natural selection the case is especially important, inasmuch as the sterility of hybrids could not possibly be of any advantage to them, and therefore could not have been acquired by the continued preservation of successive profitable degrees of sterility.

    Darwin, C. (1859). On the Origin of Species: 245.