m.r.Life ι**=7/3ψ

on Malthusian relativity

Malthusian relativity is the first theory to predict the inevitable evolution of the major lifeforms on Earth from a natural selection that unfolds deterministically from the origin of replicating molecules.

When Darwin read Malthus (1798) in 1838 he realised not only that 'a struggle for existence inevitably follows from the high rate at which all organic beings tend to increase' but also that 'the struggle almost invariably will be most severe between the individuals of the same species' (Darwin, 1859).

Darwin argued that it was population growth and intra-specific interactions that caused natural selection. But he never used the insight to show more formally how the selection of density-dependent interactive competition selects for the biological diversity on Earth. Nor was the principle taken seriously as a necessary and sufficient mechanism for the natural selection of large organised lifeforms before Witting proposed the theory of Malthusian relativity in 1997.

The name 'Malthusian relativity' reflects that interactive competition selects organised lifeforms by a density-frequency-dependent relativity among the Malthusian parameters (i.e., exponential growth rates) of the variants in the population.

Starting from the origin of replicating molecules with no metabolism, there is directional selection for increased metabolism. This generates the evolution of net energy for self-replication, with the associated unfolding of population dynamic feed-back selection from population growth and density dependent interactive competition.

The gradual unfolding of the feed-back selects for evolutionary transitions from replicating molecules over prokaryote and eukaryote like unicells to multicellular animals with sexual and eusocial reproduction. This prediction includes the evolution of body mass allometries, the population cycles that have fascinated ecologists for decades, and a bend of body mass evolution and inter-specific allometries by time.

As an application, I constructed equilibrium life history and population dynamic models for birds and mammals with body mass estimates. This includes approximately 90% of all species in each taxon, with population trajectories predicted for approximately 1000 populations of mainly birds [high-quality population data are unfortunately quite rare for mammals].

mrLife.org describes the essential concepts, predictions, and evidence, including free downloads of the original scientific work, and live population simulations for 90% of all birds and mammals.

Please enjoy the wonders of unfolding life

Lars Witting / 28. January 2022, Nuuk