Why are some people born with defects?

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Darwin spoke of "fitness" rather than strength and meant the ability to have enough survivable offspring that are well adapted to the environmental conditions. The expression "Survival of the Fittest" sums it up in a nutshell. The herring, for example, is a small fish with little strength. His strategy to survive is to protect the swarm. Each female lays up to 50,000 eggs in one reproductive period, so the reproductive rate is immense. Although a large number of herrings are lost to predators, the conservation of the species is ensured by the enormous number of offspring. The “evolutionary fitness” of the herring as a species is high, even if the individual fish is weak and has only a small individual chance of survival.

And how can selfless behavior in animals be explained by the fight of all against all? For example, South American vampire bats feed conspecifics who have not found enough food themselves. So they make it possible for others to survive, although in doing so they reduce their own chances of survival. Sociobiology has an explanation for this that is well in line with evolutionary theory. Although the bat with its generous gift slightly reduces the likelihood of having its own offspring, it enables its conspecifics to reproduce. For the vampire bat as a species, the altruistic behavior can therefore be of great advantage, even if it initially has disadvantages for a single individual.

For some animal species, societies have developed that have established altruistic behavior “professionally”, so to speak. With bees and ants, for example, almost all of the work is done by sterile workers who cannot produce offspring themselves. The queen, who is the only one who can lay eggs, benefits most from her work. For the conservation of the species, therefore, both the queen and the workers are equally important, because without the workers the queen could not survive or at least not have any offspring.