The Coming Wave Page #49
Thanksgiving Day 2010
Carson City, Nevada
MA: Settling into her big chair - Thanks for stoking the fire it is getting cold outside. But it is beautiful don't you think?
Q: Oh MA it is like something out of a photograph. Have you owned this house long?
MA: Most of my life.
Q: I feel a bit like the “potted plant” in this interview, you have been so forthcoming that I seem reduced to just listening. However do please go on. Ma do we have to get into math?
MA: Well let's just see.
Would you agree that we are indeed in a human population explosion?
Q: Seems clear to me.
MA: Then there are only two outcomes available. When we speak of population explosions within a species we normally resort to a bit of “geek speak” where we describe the two outcomes as either a “r-selected” species or “k-selected” species.
What this means, in simple terms, is that an “r-selected” species is one that reproduces quickly, has a short maturation time, breeds at a young age, has a short lifespan, produces many offspring quickly, has small offspring, has a high mortality rates for their young, and give little or no parental care.
The "K-selected species" usually live near the carrying capacity of their environment. Their numbers are controlled by the availability of resources.
In other words, they are a density dependent species.
The attributes of a K-selected species include a long maturation time, breeding relatively late in life, a long lifespan, producing relatively few offspring, large newborn offspring, low mortality rates of young, and extensive parental care.
With me so far?
MA: The main point of R/K selection theory is that evolutionary pressures tend to drive animals in one of these two directions — towards quickly reproducing animals whose specialty is to adopt as many niches as possible using simple strategies
Or slowly reproducing animals who are strong competitors in crowded niches and invest substantially in their offspring.
The quick summary of R/K selection theory can be thought of as “quality vs. quantity.”
Q: Then we are obviously “K-selected” species?
MA: For the most part yes.