Confused!! -Who are the "fittest"

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Confused!! -Who are the "fittest"

Post by emt2006 » Fri Jun 02, 2006 5:29 am

I am having to take College Biology for my degree. I understand most of it and like Biology. Wednesday our teacher gave us a homework assignment of 400 questions to do in essay form and turn in by Monday. I am stuck on a question and I cant find exactly what is talking about in the book. It is probably that I am over looking it but I have been at it for 3 hours and it is now 12:30am.

We are talking about Darwin and Evolutionary Relationships.

The question is Who are the "fittest"?

Any help with this would be wonderful. I have gotten about half of my stuff done and this is one that I am just stuck on.


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Post by biology_06er » Fri Jun 02, 2006 12:17 pm

Hi there

Ummmm someone PLEASE!! correct me if I'm wrong but the way I take it is if they are asking who are the fittest? Doesn't it just mean those species that can adapt to the environment and hence able to survive (hence the "fit") producing more offspring compared to those who cannot adapt to an environment and hence die...

I'm not really sure if thats what you are after (doubt it) but yeah someone please correct me if I'm wrong

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Post by canalon » Fri Jun 02, 2006 2:18 pm

The definition of fitness is indeed not an easy one. And still debated mostly between population biologist who are trying to model evolution.

Mainly as biology_06er says this is something that can only be calculated a posteriori by calculating how much more or less the offspring of a given individual was. This may not be satisfying, but since that fits (pun intended) with the real life, where, except in the worst case, it is impossible to judge the fitness of an individual just by looking at it.

Science has proof without any certainty. Creationists have certainty without
any proof. (Ashley Montague)

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Post by tranjo » Sun Jun 04, 2006 5:15 am

As a generic answer, the fittest organisms are ones that reproduce, regardless of how "fit" they actually are. This is a tough question.

Best, J

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Post by mith » Sun Jun 04, 2006 12:39 pm

number of surviving offspring?
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

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Still Confused!

Post by emt2006 » Mon Jun 05, 2006 4:49 am

I have read the book and there is nothing that I can find about who is the fittest. This is due by Monday night at 5pm and I dont know what to do. I guess I could just put a guess in and hope that I get it right. This is the only question that I am having problems with. :shock:

Thanks for everones help!!

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Post by AstusAleator » Mon Jun 05, 2006 8:35 am

If it's not too late... the above answers are pretty accurate.
Fitness is determined by how successful one is in reproducing.
Successful reproduction is when the offspring then go on to have children of their own.
Successful reproduction is determined by many adaptive and environmental factors.
Fitness is more complex than just reproductive success though. For instance, in r selected animals, parents will have many children. The mortality rate is generally high in the offspring, but if they are fit, several of the offspring will then go on to reproduce, thus increasing or maintaining population size. If only one of the many offspring had gone on to reproduce successfully, they would not be considered fit.
One good way of determining a species fitness is by looking at the population growth. Fit species have positive or negligible population growth, because they have adapted to their environments in such a way as to consistantly carry out successful reproduction. Invasive species are good examples of "fit" species, in that they have specific adaptations that allow them to prosper in an environment, reproducing and spreading more rapidly than any other potential competitors.
So, on earth, I would say that the fittest organisms would probably be humans, or maybe cockroaches.
Some things that decrease fitness are:
stochastic environmental changes
Nonrandom mating (sometimes)
and others

Sometimes the very adaptations that can make an organism the most fit in an environment, will also make them vulnerable to becoming very unfit. This occurs in niche specification, when an organism becomes so highly adapted to a specific area that if environmental change occurs or an invasive competitor is introduced, it cannot survive.

Hope this helped. Good luck.
I'm surprised you couldn't find material on this in your book or on the internet.
What did the parasitic Candiru fish say when it finally found a host? - - "Urethra!!"

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