One of the most well-known and scientifically proven Darwin’s hypothesis states that the closer the evolutionary species are to each other, the more intense is the struggle for natural resources between them. As it turned out, this hypothesis is not true in all cases.

One of the most famous Charles Darwin’s hypotheses suggests that the closer the species are to each other, the more they compete for food and other resources, as they occupy the same ecological niche. Until now, most scholars accepted this statement without doubts.

However, when three American researchers during experiments found that Darwin’s theory is not valid for freshwater green algae, their surprise was evident.

We didn’t expect this. When we got the results, the first thought was: How is this possible? It took long to realize what happened since till now, Darwin’s hypothesis was considered to be the ultimate truth. Is it possible that it is not true in all cases?” said Bradley Cardinale, an associate professor at the University of Michigan.

Biologists have long deciphered the genomes of 60 species of algae most common in North America. This helped quite accurately determine their evolutionary kinship, i.e. which species are the most ancient and genetically unique, and which appeared relatively recently.

In their experiments, the American scientists made closely related species of algae compete for resources: nitrogen, phosphorus and light. Similar experiments were carried out for the algae which were very far apart in the evolutionary development.

If Darwin’s hypothesis was correct, then closely related species of algae would compete among themselves significantly stronger than distant relatives.

However, neither the experiments conducted in the laboratory nor the observation of algae in ponds and lakes were able to confirm the hypothesis of Darwin.

Darwin’s theory is based on the constant competition between a species and the survival of the fittest. However, now the biologists have discovered that about a third of all species of algae develop better in the presence of “competitors”. Instead of slowing down the growth of plants, the addition of other species accelerated it.

Thus, Darwin’s hypothesis about the development of wildlife based on the constant struggle was not true in the case of the species of algae.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Brad Cardinale

    My name is Dr. Brad Cardinale, and this article is about my research. I must say that this website has presented a grossly inaccurate and irresponsible representation of my research.

    The title of this webpage “New study disproves Darwins hypothesis about the struggle for survival” is completely false. There is nothing in this research that refutes Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. To date, no one has been able to demonstrate Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection to be incorrect.

    Darwin had a lot of ideas other than just those about natural selection, and our work was focused on one of his other hypotheses. In particular, we were testing a hypothesis that is sometimes called the Competition-Relatedness-Hypothesis (CRH), which proposes that competition is stronger among closely related species than among distantly related species because the former should be more ecologically similar. We are not finding support for the CRH, which is a surprise … but again, it has nothing to do with Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection.

  2. George F


    I don’t think you understand how science works do you?

    Proofs exist only in mathematics and logic, not in science. Mathematics and logic are both closed, self-contained systems of propositions, whereas science is empirical and deals with nature as it exists. The primary criterion and standard of evaluation of scientific theory is evidence, not proof. All else equal (such as internal logical consistency and parsimony), scientists prefer theories for which there is more and better evidence to theories for which there is less and worse evidence. Proofs are not the currency of science.
    Proofs have two features that do not exist in science: They are final, and they are binary. Once a theorem is proven, it will forever be true and there will be nothing in the future that will threaten its status as a proven theorem (unless a flaw is discovered in the proof). Apart from a discovery of an error, a proven theorem will forever and always be a proven theorem.

  3. Bradley Cardinale

    Wait! I’m the real Brad Cardinale!

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