biological competition/cooperation and the lists

Cicindelid at Cicindelid at
Thu Aug 22 21:53:59 MDT 1996

Hello all:

I've been offline for a while, but wanted to clarify one statement attributed
to Lisa.

I am unsure when she initially wrote that ". . . symbiosis includes several
categories, one of which is parasitism . . . ," or if this was in response to
my comments earlier this month that Margulis' Endosymbiant Theory is one
explanation of cooperative evolution.  Notwithstanding, the statement,
although undeniably true, requires further explanation.

Of the various manifestations of interspecific interaction, the following
categories have been established by Robert E. Ricklefs and are generally
accepted among ecologists:


neutralism--neither population affects the other

competition (direct interference type)--direct, physical inhibition of each
population by the other

competition (resource use type)--indirect inhibition of each population by
the other when common resources are in low supply (competition for food,
habitat, etc.)

amensalism--one population is inhibited by the interaction, while the other
is not affected.


PARASITISM--the parasite, generally smaller than the host, benefits at the
expense of the second population.

predation--the predator, generally larger than the prey, benefits at the
expense of the second population (basically the same as parasitism, except
the larger animal is benefited)

commensalism--the commensal benefits, while the second population is

protocooperation--the interaction is favorable to both, but not obligatory.

MUTUALISM--the interaction is favorable to both populations;  the interaction
is obligatory.  This is the true form of symbiosis.

Although it is true that Margulis and the majority of her adherents believe
that all true systems of endosymbiosis have their origins in parasitism, it
is important to point out that Marx's ideas were parallel.  In fact, Marx
often iterated that communism (with its biological equivalent:  mutualism)
necessarily derives from capitalism (parasitism).  There is no gap between
Margulis' ideas and Marx's.

Both of these concepts hold that evolution of cooperative society (whether
biological or economic) is just that, an evolution--one that may have its
origins in seemingly opposing systems.  Moreover, the clear import of Natural
Selection is that archaic (primitive) biological systems, from within
themselves, bear modern (advanced) life.  The same is true of economy.

Kurt Milton Pickett

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