Survival, Reproduction, and Play

This is a stirring video of a young gorilla in an Atlanta zoo, having a blast in a pile of leaves. After all, evolution is about survival and reproduction. And play.

Chris Lynn and Daniel Lende left me some comments on post a while back (Nature, Not Always Red in Tooth and Claw) that made me think about something similar — the ‘living’ part of life. So much of biology focuses (rightly) on survival, adaptation, and passing along genes to offspring.  

But for long-living species like ourselves, there is a LOT of time to spend responding to life’s challenges, before, during, and after making it to the age of reproduction. All those moments surely count for something, and they’re probably better spent when they are pleasurable, when we can find meaning and happiness, and when our relationships with those around us are cooperative rather than antagonistic.

It seems that evolution has gotten us to the point where we can, as Daniel put it, “grow and prosper” in whatever ways are significant or pleasurable to us, so that we can enjoy the living part of life.


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