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fitnessfitness (fr.); Fitness (ger.)

  • 1) The quality of being adequate for certain goals, e.g. for survival.
    fitness of the organization
    Locke, J. (1689). An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (Oxford 1979): 331 (II, 27, §5).

    I shall note the exact Fitness of the Parts of the Bodies of Animals to every ones Nature and manner of living [...]

    the fitness of all the parts and members of Animals to their respective uses

    Ray, J. (1691). The Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of the Creation: 102; 110.

    the fitness and fitting of one thing to another [...]
    [Within an organism in its embryonic state] a system of lungs […] [is] holding no relation or fitness to the element which surrounds them
    Paley, W. (1802). Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity: 56; 279.
    the fitness, harmony, and grandeur of all parts of the creation
    Lyell, C. (1830). Principles of Geology, vol. 1: 69.
    those only come forward to maturity from the strict ordeal by which Nature tests their adaptation to her standard of perfection and fitness to continue their kind by reproduction
    Matthew, T.P. (1831). Naval Timber and Arboriculture: 385 (Appendix).
    As natural selection acts by competition, it adapts the inhabitants of each country only in relation to the degree of perfection of their associates; so that we need feel no surprise at the inhabitants of any one country, although on the ordinary view supposed to have been specially created and adapted for that country, being beaten and supplanted by the naturalised productions from another land. Nor ought we to marvel if all the contrivances in nature be not, as far as we can judge, absolutely perfect; and if some of them be abhorrent to our ideas of fitness
    Darwin, C. (1859). On the Origin of Species: 472.
  • 2) Bodily strenght and vigour.
    a high level of inherent physical fitness, endurance and general intelligence
    Huxley, J.S. (1941). Man Stands Alone: 68.
    better fitness for the way of life
    Simpson, G.G. (1949). The Meaning of Evolution: 144.
  • 3) A quantitative measure for a trait's contribution to the survival or reproduction of a unit of selection.
    The vital statistics of an organism in relation to its environment provide a means of determining a measure of the relative growth-rate of the population, which may be termed the Malthusian parameter of population increase. [...] The Malthusian parameter will in general be different for each different genotype, and will measure the fitness to survive of each. [...] The rate of increase of fitness of any species is equal to the genetic variance in fitness
    Fisher, R.A. (1930). The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection: 46.
    Fitness for survival cannot be completely defined except as applied to a ‘unit of evolution’. […] The fitness of such a unit is its probability of leaving descendants after a given long period of time
    Thoday, J.M. (1953). Components of fitness. Symposia of the Society for Experimental Biology 7, 96-113: 112.
    Adaptive value, or Darwinian fitness, is not the same thing as bodily strength, vigor, or bravery
    T. Dobzhansky. (1955). Evolution, Genetics & Man: 122.
    m measures fitness by the objective fact of representation in future generations
    Fisher, R.A. (1930/58). The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection: 37.
    Individuals […] contribute different numbers of offspring to the next generation. The proportionate contribution of offspring to the next generation is called the fitness of the individual
    Falconer, D.S. (1960). Introduction to Quantitative Genetics: 26.

    Genetic fitness The contribution to the next generation of one genotype in a population relative to the contribution of other genotypes. By definition, this process of natural selection leads eventually to the prevalence of the genotype with the highest fitness

    Wilson, E.O. (1975). Sociobiology. The New Synthesis: 585.


    fitness The relative competitive ability of a given genotype conferred by adaptive morphological, physiological or behavioural characters, expressed and usually quantified as the average number of surviving progeny of one genotype compared with the average number of surviving progeny of competing genotypes; a measure of the contribution of a given genotype to the subsequent generation relative to that of other genotypes.

    Lincoln, R.J., Boxshall, G.A. & Clark, P.F. (1982). A Dictionary of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics: 93.

Mills, S.K. & Beatty, J.H. (1979). The propensity interpretation of fitness. Philos. Sci. 46, 263-286: 275.

Rosenberg, A. (1983). Fitness. J. Philos. 80, 457-473.

Christiansen, F.B. (1983). The definition and measurement of fitness. In: Shorrocks, B. (ed.). Ecolutionary Ecology, 65-79.

Byerly, H.C. & Michod, R.E. (1991) Fitness and evolutionary explanation. Biol. Philos. 6, 1-22.

Beatty, J. (1992). Fitness: theoretical contexts. In: Fox Keller, E. & Lloyd, E.A. (eds.). Keywords in Evolutionary iology, 115-11.

Sober, E. (2001). The two faces of fitness. In: Singh, R., Paul, D., Crimbas, C. & Beatty, J. (eds.). Thinking about Evolution, 309-321.

Krimbas, C.B. (2004). On fitness. Biol. Philos. 19, 185-203.