Darwin, Evolved

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From Darwin’s On the Origin of Species: A Modern Rendition (Indiana University Press), a new “translation” of the classic text in contemporary English by Daniel Duzdevich ’09CC, ’13GSAS, a PhD candidate in the Department of Biological Sciences.


Natural selection produces nothing in one species for the exclusive good or injury of another species. It can produce parts or organs that are very useful or even indispensable, or very harmful to another species, but only if they are useful to the owner. If a region is densely inhabited, then natural selection acts chiefly through the competition of inhabitants with one another; it consequently produces perfection — strength in the struggle for existence — according to the standards of that region. This is why inhabitants of a small region generally yield to inhabitants of a larger region, where there are more individuals, greater diversification, more severe competition — and as a result, a higher standard of perfection. Natural selection does not necessarily produce absolute perfection, which, as far as can be judged, does not even exist. 

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