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Tradeoffs and Negative Correlations in Evolutionary Ecology

Summary: Chapter 10
Tradeoffs and Negative Correlations
in Evolutionary Ecology
Anurag A. Agrawal, Jeffrey K. Conner, and Sergio Rasmann
Hairless dogs have imperfect teeth; long-haired and coarse-haired animals
are apt to have, as is asserted, long or many horns; pigeons with feathered
feet have skin between their outer toes; pigeons with short beaks have
small feet, and those with long beaks large feet. Hence, if man goes on
selecting, and thus augmenting, any peculiarity, he will almost certainly
unconsciously modify other parts of the structure, owing to the mysterious
laws of the correlation of growth (Darwin 1859: 1112).
...as Goethe expressed it, `in order to spend on one side, nature is forced to
economise on the other side.' I think this holds true to a certain extent with
our domestic productions: if nourishment flows to one part or organ in
excess, it rarely flows, at least in excess, to another part; thus it is difficult
to get a cow to give much milk and to fatten readily. The same varieties
of the cabbage do not yield abundant and nutritious foliage and a copious
supply of oil-bearing seeds. When the seeds in our fruits become atrophied,
the fruit itself gains largely in size and quality. In our poultry, a large tuft
of feathers on the head is generally accompanied by a diminished comb, and


Source: Agrawal, Anurag - Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology & Entomollogy, Cornell University


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology