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Thread: niche construction vs natural selection

  1. #1 niche construction vs natural selection 
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    Some scientists have suggested that niche construction is just as important as natural selection, or perhaps even more important than natural selection in evolution, any comments about this?


    Niche construction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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    Many organism create a 'niche' to aid survival... like a hair creates a srape to get out of the wind and sight a little. A bird builds a nest.

    If an organism creates a niche that others of its type do not do, and it gives that organism an advantage, then it will affect the natural selection that occurs within that species.

    Take kings for example... they create an extremely complex niche which includes a palace, an army to serve them, and a society which serves them. That gives the kings a severe advantage in evolution and much more chance of being a player in the natural selection.

    As long as a niche is sustainable throughout the generations then it will continue to play a part in natural seletion... if for whatever reason that niche becomes impossible then those who havve evolved using this niche as a crutch, will have to readapt or perish.


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  4. #3  
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    Hare*...
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    I don't see one as being more important than another, because they feed each other. Say a niche were to have a serious impact the environment and therefore change what selective forces were placed on the surrounding life. Well then that life responds to these forces either by its own niche construction or its own selective evolution (or perhaps death). These responses are yet another change to environment, creating a feedback loop of sorts. It's all part of the same process, rather than being two unrelated phenomena.
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    As I understand it they are not even separate things, i.e. the niche is part of the extended phenotype
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    That is surely true for some species, but would vary on a case by case basis. A general survey of the topic here [link].
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    A hare's scrape is not its niche. It is its place to hide.

    Niche is a term used in ecology to refer to the wider ecological way of life employed by a specific organism. A beaver's niche includes building dams and altering its environment, but is more extensive than just building dams.

    As to comparing its importance to that of natural selection, that is a genuine apples and oranges situation. It is a meaningless comparison.
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  9. #8  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    agree with skeptic - a niche is a multidimensional space of requirements that an organism needs to see fulfilled to make a living and have successful offspring
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    I understood the idea to be that niches themselves change over time, just as the species genotype/phenotype changes over time. Seeing this, a person might think to compare the two (but as you say, there is really no value in doing so).
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  11. #10  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    you could almost say that niches are subject to natural selection, as a sort of extended phenotype (pace Dawkins) of an organism
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  12. #11  
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    Is there an echo in here, haha just kidding
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