Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Adaptation and Natural Selection

  • Nora BalboaEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1872-1


In his book, Adaptation and Natural Selection, George Williams (1966) discusses what is meant by the term “adaptation” and what can be done to further the study of that phenomenon. Throughout the course of the book, he provides an overview of past research on the subject and challenges misconceptions, such as group selection, which he believes to be misguided attempts at understanding adaptation.


George Williams’ 1966 book, Adaptation and Natural Selection, seeks to define what is meant by researchers discussing the adaptation of species and clarify differences in understanding of the term and the process it describes. The main purpose of adaptation, as Williams understands it, is to promote the survival of the individual and that individual’s ability to reproduce in order to preserve their genes. Through the process of evolution, adaptations that are useful for the survival of the individual are retained and passed on to future generations. Contrary to the...

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  1. Williams, G. C. (1966). Adaptation and natural selection: A critique of some current evolutionary thought. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kansas State UniversityManhattanUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Gary L Brase
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencesKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA