Was Darwin wrong about ‘survival of the fittest’? Collaboration may be just as natural as competition

feedingcompetition kateshaw
Image: BBC

To put it simply, we have let Darwinism set the horizon of possibility for human behavior. Competition has become a supposed basic feature of all life, something immutable, universal, natural. Yet new research from across various fields of study is throwing the putative scientific basis of this consensus into doubt.

The National Institutes of Health recently found that over 10,000 microbial species occupy what they call “the human ecosystem,” outnumbering human cells 10 to 1 and doing diverse kinds of work at almost every level of the body’s processes.

ADVERTISEMENT

Ecologist Suzanne Simard, as one example, has spent the past 2½ decades studying the symbiotic fungal networks that nurture and connect trees. Thin tendrils that tangle around plants’ roots, called mycorrhizal fungi, provide increased water and nutrient absorption capabilities to plants and receive carbohydrates from photosynthesis in return.

Related article:  Origins of symmetry: This ancient worm-like creature may be a key to our own evolution

[W]e must learn to recognize the impulse to naturalize a given human behavior as a political maneuver. Competition is not natural, or at least not more so than collaboration.

This insight could hardly come at a more opportune time. With our climate crisis mounting, we dearly need new ways to think about our relationships to the diverse entities that share our planet.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Read the original post

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
GLP Podcasts
Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Do you know where biotech crops are grown in the world? This updated ISAAA infographics show where biotech crops were ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

* indicates required
Email Lists
Send this to a friend