Re: Why we age, was Re: SOCIOLOGY: On Betting on Aging

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Mon Mar 19 2001 - 14:23:02 MST

On Sun, 18 Mar 2001, Jim Fehlinger wrote:

> This suggests that, over the course of the entire history
> of life on Earth, r-strategy came first (and is still the most
> common), but a few more complex organisms invented
> k-strategy (including the ones that gave rise to us).

It doesn't matter what came first. Nature will vary the
strategy to match the hazard function. You could be a
k-strategist, but if your environment suddenly becomes
hazardous, only the r-leaning strategists within the
species are going to survive.

It is very hard to develop k-strategy genomes -- you have
to get to the top of your environmental niche and then develop
strategies for reducing the risks associated with any
remaining "natural" hazards. You also have to be smart
enough not to overpopulate the environment, causing it to
crash on you. We seem to be playing brinkmanship in that


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