The term 'natural selection', to most people, almost reflexively connects to the phrase 'survival of the fittest'. That trite phrase, coined by Herbert Spencer (not Darwin), however, is extremely misleading, inaccurate and susceptible to being (mis)used for furthering nefarious socio-political agendas. Moreover, though natural selection is typically discussed in the context of biological evolution, it is actually applicable in many non-biological contexts ranging from bank accounts to computer viruses to social-media memes. In this talk, I will discuss - hopefully in a non-technical manner - what exactly natural selection is, how the concept of natural selection developed historically, the relationship between heredity and natural selection, and why (perhaps) natural selection is such an easy concept to misunderstand.
Image credit : A great horned owl (Bubo virginianus), using its feathers for flight. Photograph by Peter K. Burian (Wikimedia Commons).
About the Speaker:
BSc (Hons) Botany and MSc Genetics (Delhi); Ph.D. in Evolutionary Genetics, Washinton State University, Pullman; Postdoctoral work at Univ of California, Irvine.On the faculty of JNCASR, Bengaluru, since 1996. Fellow of IASc, INSA, NASI, and the Indian Society of Evolutionary Biologists SS Bhatnagar Award for Biological Sciences, 2009.Research interests: life-history evolution; ecology and evolution of competitive ability; population dynamics; historical and philosophical aspects of evolutionary thought.Other interests: History, philosophy, literature. Poet in Urdu, English, and (occasionally) Persian.