Hi folks. It’s COMPETITION time. Over the next few weeks in the run up to Xmas I’ll be making some copies of Darwin in Scotland available as competition prizes. This is the first one.

So, to win a copy of Darwin in Scotland, simply tweet me (use Twitter to write to @JFDerry) an explanation of Natural Selection. That’s it! Natural Selection in 140 characters. That’s got to be easy. Or is it?
I’m looking forward to what you come up with; good luck!



Best explanation of Natural Selection in a single tweet.


A copy of Darwin in Scotland (sent anywhere).


Friday 5th November, 2010.



[… tick tock tick tock]
It’s now a week later and I have just announced the results of the competition via Twitter. Firstly, the response to the competition was excellent and the quality of tweeted definitions of Darwinian Natural Selection was very high. Thank you to everyone who entered, and special thanks to @RichClements for the original idea for the competition.
First though, I’ll let you know what I was looking for in the competition entries. Certainly, as requested, an explanation of Natural Selection in a tweet, so, the usual, “live long enough to reproduce = spreading genes through a population”-type answer was expected, but I was also looking for one that captures the passivity of the process. The way evolution is often taught, and indeed the name “… Selection” itself, often leaves the impression of an active selector, as if a great arbitrator between habitat and survival. Of course, this is exactly the opposite of Darwinism, which invokes no great guiding “hand of god”.
So, did anyone get there, within a tweet?
Well, I did enjoy the more imaginative, and entertaining entries, but I’m going to have to be boring and go with the most accurate. So, here are the entries to the competiton in the order that they were received, except for the 3 top-placed entries and one additional entry reserved for special mention. These are appended below.
@gentleanne Natural Selection – the sequential consequence of action/inaction and choice.
@LizMoloney natural selection: % of ‘human’ DNA found in cabbages & pigs probably accounts for the for both twilight & beiber followers
@howtobealegend only natural selection explains why I’m so feckin awesome! Preceding generations got incrementally more awesome in the lead up
@lucabaptista Select. Fuck fuck fuck. Offspring. Start all over again.
@biancajg Each individual is unique. This leaves some better suited for certain environments than others. Result: nature selects best suited.
@canuckuk Evolving as much as possible, given the circumstances.
@Rantnrage24 NS is: the idiots that dress in dark clothes and walk out in front of my car at night.
@Staedtler Evolution is the slow accumulation of profitable mistakes.
@BlakeCreedon When a gene replicates imperfectly and the new 1 improves its bearer’s ability to survive and replicate, it spreads thru population
@Disklabs ‘Shit just gets better’ < now thats a dead certain winner.
@arthurchappell Evolution = fact. Theory is Darwin’s Natural Selection line asking if dog breeders select the best why not tooth & claw nature too?
@dandycowboy Cleverest survive, morons die off. However, This does not give an explanation for chavs.
@lumpinthethroat Wouldn’t it have to be the elegant and brutal – survival of the fittest?
@andrewluke Natural Selection – Beans on toast, Big Brother on Channel 4, Blair Osborne:Green Goblin
@janephill Girl meets boy. ‘You’re fit!’ she thinks.
@DeeGirdler Right. Personally speaking… I continue to look for taller, stronger and more intelligent blokes. It is a challenge, I must say.
Only the one prize I’m sorry, but a special mention to @darwinsbulldog for his scholarly entry …
@darwinsbulldog Natural Selection is pre-Origin manuscript written by #Darwin, published in 1987 by Stauffer, the rest of his “big species book”


and in 3rd place (but no prize, sorry) is this excellent succinct entry from @LillyLyle:
@LillyLyle Reproduce before you die.


and 2nd place (but no prize, sorry) is the wonderfully doubting (“if”) entry from @bykimbo which gets close to the passivity of NS:
@bykimbo Natural selection: if it works, you live. If you live, you breed. If you breed, it spreads.


and that leaves the WINNER, who does get a prize, a signed copy of “Darwin in Scotland”.
*drrrrrrrruuuuuuummmmmmmm roll*
and the WINNER of the COMPETITION iiiiiiiiissssss … … for their accurate definition of Natural Selection … … that also managed to be rather poetic at the same time … …
congratulations to @Underbundle  – you are the COMPETITION WINNER with …
@Underbundle What can copy itself, will. Only that which can adapt to change will survive it. Together these facts are endlessly creative.


Congratulations and thanks again to everyone who entered the COMPETITION, but there can be only one. I hope you agree it was deserving of the win. Keep a look out for upcoming COMPETITIONS – send me any ideas you have for subjects and format.

About jfderry

Humanitarian Aid Disaster Relief Social Media / Hospitality Manager Conservation Scientist Modelling incl. epidemics Evolutionary Ecology Author+ @DISSENTOFMAN @DarwinMonkey
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5 Responses to COMPETITION Time #1 – CLOSED and RESULTS

  1. Pingback: Edinburgh today: Garrison bookclub, new Toadcast and goodbye Leyland guidebus |

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  3. darwinsbulldog says:

    Didn’t I comment with an answer?

  4. darwinsbulldog says:

    Well, duh, Michael!

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