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Survival of the fittest

Bee in flower bud, with text "Biognosis Shots"

Survival of the fittest is *the* biological mantra. The interesting thing: how fitness is evaluated.

I’d say there are two main traits which are favoured by evolution:

  • fitness in terms of a good immune system (often shown by certain characteristics and skills)
  • and of intelligence (the ability to overcome obstacles by proactive problem-solving).

Immune system fitness is often evaluated by competition, especially in sexual reproduction. Ritualistic fights, showing off your massive horns, your beautiful feathers… or by skills, like building the most beautiful nest, doing the most elegant dance … there are many different examples.

There is one aspect which seems crucial – this system is designed to very much rule out trickery. You can’t lie about such basic signs and talents. They are there, or they are not.


Intelligence on the other hand… is a bit tricky. It gives you the ability to solve problems and that is quite the advantage for living beings, but it also gives you the ability to … pretend.

That’s very much a human domain, but not exclusively … think ravens. There’s evidence that they actually lie to one another from time to time.

However, if you think of eusocial societies, like of honey bees… they seem to use  honesty  as a survival trait. It was observed that their wiggle dance does not only show where food is to be found, but tells about its quality, too. Without glossing over. Clever!

Looks like honesty is the best policy – even in evolution. Food for thought? I think so.

Originally posted on November 21, 2020 via » instagram/biognosis-tools

Gallery credits:

  • ibex by Susanne Jutzeler, suju-foto
  • peacock by confused_me
  • nestbuilding by Holly Jade
  • bees by su mx
  • raven by Cornelia Schneider-Frank

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