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Cooperation, Not Competition, Drives Evolution


Mar 18, 2013
USA / Europe
There was a Russian researcher in the 19th century called Kropotkin, and he formulated a theory that evolution is a process influenced a lot more by cooperation than by competition.
Peter Kropotkin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Unfortunately, his ideas were not popular in the West and up until today the view that "nature is red in tooth and claw" prevails in most academic departments of biology, biochemistry, and of course their offspring medicine.
This latest study casts doubt on the competition as the main driver view, and adds evidence to Kropotkin's views. Ray has also written about both competition and cooperation and how the prevalence of the "competition" view has influenced biology, medicine, and the entire scientific discovery process for the last 100 years.

Cooperation, not struggle for survival, drives evolution
"...Many theories and hypotheses suggest that competition tends to differentiate ecological requirements after repeated interactions and allows biodiversity. Even if the mechanisms that allow species to evolve, coexist, compete, cooperate, or become extinct are becoming more and more understood, the factors that allow species to coexist in a given time within the same environment are still debated. From Gause's principle of competitive exclusion to Connell's ghost of competition in the past, the importance of intra- and interspecific competition for the evolution of biodiversity has been stressed. Recently, the principles based on competitive interactions for the explanation of biodiversity have been criticized from both theoretical and empirical approaches. Since Hutchinson proposed the provocative "paradox of plankton" a series of alternative hypothesis has been proposed to explain why the principle of competitive exclusion is not found in "real nature". The reason probably lies in the fact that ecologists have not questioned some of the principles of evolution. In fact, most ecological models are too simplistic and are often considered outdated.

"...A new conceptual evolutionary model first proposed in 2015 in bioRXiv and then published this year in the journal Biologia by Roberto Cazzolla Gatti, associate professor of ecology and biodiversity at Tomsk State University (Russia), reviewed the debated mechanism of speciation, suggesting that competition and a struggle for the existence are not the main drivers of evolution. This research points out the importance of avoidance of competition, biological history, endogenosymbiosis, and three-dimensionality as the main forces that structure ecosystems and allow the evolution of biological diversity."

"...This model remained a theoretical and hypothetical, but intriguing, explanation for less than a year. A few weeks ago, researchers from the University of Bern in Switzerland published an empirical experiment that proves it. David Marques and colleagues demonstrated that a population of stickleback fish that breed in the same lake (Lake Constance, where they were introduced around 150 years ago) was splitting into two separate species before their eyes, and at rapid speed. The study shows that even if both types of fish breed in the same streams at the same time of year and have been interbreeding all along, they are splitting into two genetically and physically different types."


Jan 4, 2016
Very interesting post!
I totaly agree with this theory and i think it is strictly related to the idea that the evolution goes on through active adaptation thanks to the "intelligence" of living substances.

The doctrine of Malthus, like that of the Catastrophists, made loss, deletion, and destruction into a central device for explaining the history of the world.

Both of the Darwins had accepted the idea that many biological changes were adaptive, rather than random, but the new practical compromise doctrine introduced the idea that changes were just "random variations." The essentially mechanical nature of the world was preserved, because "chance" occurrences could be dealt with, and didn't involve anything supernatural. The function of the environment wasn't to add anything to life (that would have been to assert that there were creative powers other than those of the Creator), but simply to eliminate the inferior individuals that appeared as the result of random changes.

This quotes are from the article Adaptive substance, creative regeneration: Mainstream science, repression, and creativity
and show how the scientist think evolution in this way.


Mar 29, 2014
Intuitively, it seems pretty likely, if not obvious. The capacity for developing speech and language and transmitting culture are in large part about cooperation. So are human and other animals' predispositions to support their kin and community members. Human cooperation has been an important factor in our ability to organise the environment to support us.


Jan 4, 2016
Also it is clear because looking at nature there are a lot of symbiosis and coperation between species of animal or between plants.
There are some theories which says that the whole earth is an organism (GAIA)
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