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survival valueÜberlebenswert (ger.)

  • The property of any heritable or other character that renders the individuals possessing it more likely to survive and reproduce; also transf.; also, the ability to survive. (OED)

    Our palæontological series are unique in being phyletic series. They exhibit no evidences of fortuity in the main lines of evolution. New structures arise by infinitesimal beginnings at definite points. In their first stages they have no ‘utilitarian’ or ‘survival’ value. They increase in size in successive generations until they reach a stage of usefulness.

    Osborn, H.F. (1895). The hereditary mechanism and the search for the unknown factors of evolution. Amer. Nat. 29, 418-39: 435; cf. 434.


    Does mind come into the causal series of organic evolution at large? Is it actively concerned in progress, i. e., has it a “survival value?”

    Carter, M.H. (1898). Darwin’s idea of mental development. Amer. J. Psychol. 9, 534-59: 536.


    This […] view of the individual, as a whole whose diverse parts all work together in such a way as to ensure the whole’s continuance, or, as the evolutionsinst would say, whose structures and working have “survival value,” cannot stand without some qualifications.

    Huxley, J.S. (1912). The Individual in the Animal Kingdom: 16.


    in selecting a mate from a number of different competitors, it is important to select that one which is most likely to produce successful children. Those animals which make this choice wisely will have the better chance of survival, and any innate bias which leads them to do so will itself be of survival value; it will tend as time goes on to increase in intensity, and to establish itself in the species in which it serves this purpose.

    Fisher, R.A. (1915). The evolution of sexual preference. Eugen. Rev. 7, 184-92: 185.