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Survival of The Fittest

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Survival of the Fittest: Introduction

MVSAT 2024

The real evolution of the term started when the term became popular in the 5th edition that was published in the year 1869 By British Charles Darwin (in his book On the Origin of Species). He came up with a suggestion that organisms who are able to adjust themselves according to the environment attain the most success in terms of both reproductions as well as survival. This term was borrowed by Darwin from a famous philosopher and sociologist named Herbert Spencer. So, Herbert was the one who used this principle in his book The Principles of Biology, which was published in the year 1864. But, here it is interesting to know that Herbert got an idea to use this term once he had read it in the Darwin book. So, are you already curious to know about in detail just with a few glimpses? Then, it is going to be real fun with Vedantu as we have detailed everything about this theory.


Your learning journey with Vedantu will be laced with ease of grasping the topic with simple steps. This is why, we can classify it in diverse sections named meaning of the term survival of the fittest, then the evolution has been covered followed by a natural selection process. So, without waiting for long, here you can start with your learning journey.

Survival of the Fittest Meaning

"Survival of the fittest" is a phrase, developed from the evolutionary theory of Darwin. In this theory, he explained the way of describing the complete process and mechanism of natural selection and fittest meaning.

The success of this biological concept of fitness can be determined by examining reproductive success. In the terms of Darwin, the phrase survival of the fittest meaning is best understood as “Survival of the form that in successive generations will leave most copies of itself.”

In the fifth season of "On the Origin of Species", by British naturalist Charles Darwin, the survival of the fittest concept became popular, which indicated that organisms better suited to their environment are the most effective in survival and reproduction. Darwin coined the phrase from Herbert Spencer, an English sociologist, and philosopher, who had first said it in his 1864 Principles of Biology book.


Herbert Spencer Survival of the Fittest

Herbert Spencer was a philosopher and social idealist of the 19th-century. In Herbert Spencer’s survival of the fittest, He was considered to be a strong advocate of Darwin's evolutionary methods and also he supported these evolutionary processes with the help of his writings.

As already stated, the sometimes misquoted line of 'fit survival' was written by Darwin. Herbert Spencer then adopted this idea and started using it in several forms, applying evolutionary theory as a way of justifying the environment he lived in.

The works of Herbert Spencer changed the thread, rendering it the survival of the fittest.

Social Darwinism

Survival of the fittest means the strongest will survive and the weak will die. The 'fittest' will succeed over the weaker and they're the fittest to do so. This would mean the individual who is the strongest and has the longest spear rules over everyone in a harsh world without social order, class, and social customs.

The principle of 'the fittest' or the meaning of survival of the fittest was thus extended to what was respected by the highest society: capitalism and political influence. This concept was picked up and applied by the representatives of the capitalist world—the Rockefellers, the Carnegies, and many more. The application of one understanding of the rule of evolution is social Darwinism: those who excel in society are superior to those who have not succeeded.


Darwin suggested that species would evolve over time, that new species are derived from preexisting species, and that a common ancestor is shared by all species. Every species has its own diverse collection of heritable (genetic) variations from the common ancestor in this model that have progressively evolved over quite long periods of time.

Repetitive branching events, wherein new species are isolated from a common ancestor, create a "tree" of multiple levels that connects all living organisms.

Darwin pointed to this phenomenon as' descent with alteration,' in which groups of species alter their heritage characteristics over centuries. Today, we call it evolution.

Natural Selection

The mechanism of natural selection or survival of the fittest theory was logical and elegant, and it gives us the knowledge about how individuals and populations could evolve in such a way that they were better adapted to their environments over time (undergoing descent with modification). Human beings are inherently variable in a society, implying they are all distinct in certain ways. This difference suggests that certain people have attributes that are better adapted than others to the climate.

The logic behind the theory of survival of the fittest as well as natural selection was assumed to remain transferable towards humanity. As per this context, the Victorian England ascendancy (from 1820 to 1914), a new perspective appeared that more intelligent people are going to rule over those who are less intelligent or in other words who are less fit. For the purpose of realising this context, a cousin of Darwin named Francis Galton who was a British Scientist started the term Eugenics that means well-born in Greek. And, as per this theory, Eugenics Educational London society discouraged the breed of less fit.


The idea of natural selection or survival of the fittest theory by Darwin was based on a few main points:

  • Often, traits are inheritable. Many features are inherited, or passed down from parent to progeny, in living organisms.

  • Organisms were capable of producing more offspring than can be sustained by their habitats. Thus, in each generation, competition for limited resources exists.

  • The siblings vary and change over time in their inherited characteristics. The progeny in the generations tend to be slightly different from each other.  These traits may include color, shape, size, etc.,  and a maximum of these characteristics would be inheritable.

On the basis of these simple observations, the following conclusions were made by Darwin:

  • Some individual organisms tend to have the characteristics that help in the process of survival and reproduction (in the favourable conditions of the environment, for example, the food sources and predators present). Over the next generation, people with useful characteristics will leave more offspring than their peer group, as the characteristics make the process more efficient in surviving and reproducing.

  • Since the beneficial characteristics are heritable, and since species with these characteristics leave more offspring, the characteristics will appear to become more prevalent in the next generation.

  • The population will adapt and adjust to its atmosphere over centuries (as individuals with such unique traits tend to have consistently higher reproductive success as compared to their peers).


Thus, this was how Vedantu subject matter experts of Biology have explained all the related aspects of this chapter. This is a fact that students get varied queries while understanding the topics and associated concepts. This is also not a worry with Vedantu as it is a breeze for students to raise their queries and get a suitable answer for the same. Plus, they do not have to get tensed over their missing classes as they can pace with the lectures with recorded sessions. Vedantu aims to amplify the standard of learning for the students sitting at their homes irrespective of their geographical locations. When students have a sound and calm mind while studying, they are quicker to grasp the concepts.

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FAQs on Survival of The Fittest

1. The Evolution and "Charles Darwin Survival of the Fittest" are Different or the Same Theory?

Evolution and "Charles Darwin’s survival of the fittest" are not quite the same thing. Over time, evolution can be explained as the gradual changes in a population or species whereas "Survival of the fittest" is a common phrase that represents the natural selection process, a mechanism that drives change in evolution. Natural selection is involved in offering a benefit over those that are not as well suited to populations that are ideally suited to a defined set of environmental conditions. The theory of survival of the fittest usually makes one assume that the winners are the highest, fastest, or smartest individuals, but evolutionary fitness refers to the ability to survive and reproduce in a specific environment in a biological sense.

2. Give Some Examples of the Survival of the Fittest?

Natural selection is a phenomenon first theorized by Charles Darwin, and is focused on factors that help live organisms survive the adaptation of genes over generations. This is the survival of the fittest or the adaptation of species that in some respects are better adapted to the environment. Some of the examples of the survival of the fittest are:-

  • Red bugs and green bugs can be examples of the survival of the fittest. Birds are found to like the taste of red bugs. The green bugs replicate and generate more green bugs, and as a result, there are more red bugs.

  • The deer mice that moved to Nebraska's sandhills switched from dark brown to light brown to be protected and better hide in the sand from predators.

3. How has the theory of survival of the fittest been linked to coronavirus?

This popular theory of Charles Darwin the survival of the fittest that underlies natural selection of life evolution. This theory was thoroughly linked to coronavirus as it applies to those who have a strong immune system. There were people who have weak immunity so they were more prone to this virus so they were considered less fit for survival. On the other hand, people with strong immunity had more chances of safeguarding themselves from this deadly virus so they were called fitter for survival. So, this theory was linked to coronavirus according to the immune response of an individual.

4. How suicidal cells are explained in the survival of the fittest concept?

The results can be scary if the entire cooperation is on the verge of breaking down. This happens when our body cells get rouged and it leads to a disastrous disease such as cancer. Here, the internal forces within our body have weakened the process of survival as the person is no more fit with the deadly disease. Next comes the example of mice who murders her own children for eating. Thus, this is how you can explain the concept in terms of suicidal cells.

5. Is Vedantu the best fit for pursuing Biology lectures for the survival of the fittest theory?

Vedantu has hired the best Biology specialists for its students. All our tutors are picked after a perfect scanning of their skills, overall experience in the subject, their rating, etc. This is why we provide a list of tutors to the students from where they can choose who they thought would be the best for them. Along with this, all of our lectures are channelised according to the latest academic syllabus so that students are able to pace with the trending topics. So, this is why Vedantu will be your top pick to top in the exams.

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