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title SUMMARY /title

From the world of breeders, Darwin drew the term selection, a neologism introduced by Youatt to indicate the choice of the stallion (according to the market demands). He promptly adopted it already in the Sketch and considered its potential significance when applied to the idea that species vary through the generations. Consequently, he suggested that in nature something similar may happen in relation to the struggle for life that originates from environmental variations (and somehow parallels the variations of market demands). Darwin attempted different ways to document how this process takes place in nature, always distinguishing as two phases the struggle of life and the consequent differential mortality and fecundity that characterize the breeders of the successive generation. This conclusion, which is at the very basis of Darwin's evolutionary theory, was presented in alternative solutions to make it acceptable to the most skeptical readers.

Alfred Wallace apparently solved the problem of the origin of species more directly, starting from Malthus and his conception that death chooses the weakest. He does not use the word "selection" until reading Darwin's works. However, his conception is that different rates of reproduction and death are the cause of evolutionary changes.

Affiliations: 1: Dipartimento di Biologia Evolutiva, Universit di Siena


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