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species selectionArtenselektion (ger.)

  • A postulated evolutionary process in which selection acts on an entire species population, rather than individuals. This might occur e.g. as a consequence of the geographical range of a population, which affects the population as a whole and, possibly, its longevity or development. (Oxford Dict. of Zoology 2009)
    Selection must, in the first place, make a choice between the elementary species of the same systematic form. This selection of species or species selection is now in general use in practice […]. It is a selection between species. Opposed to it is the selection within the species.
    Vries, H. de (1905). Species and Varieties. Their Origin by Mutation: 744; cf. Gould, S.J. (2002). The Structure of Evolutionary Theory: 448.

    Any characters ascribed to interspecific selection should of course characterize, not species, but whole genera or families, and it may be doubted if it would be possible to point to any such character, with the possible exception […] of sexuality itself, which could be interpreted as evolved for the specific rather than for the individual advantage.

    Fisher, R.A. (1958). The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection. A Complete Variorum Edition (New York 1999): 280 (not in the first edition of 1930).

    Whereas, natural selection operates upon individuals within populations, a process that can be termed species selection operates upon species within higher taxa, determining statistical trends.
    Stanley, S.M. (1975). A theory of evolution above the species level. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 72, 646-650: 648; cf. id. (1979). Macroevolution. Pattern and Process: 183.
    species selection […] is equivalent to natural selection at the level of the individual, with the character of phylogeny shifting according to variation in longevity and rate of speciation among lineages.
    Stanley, S.M. (1979). Macroevolution: 183.