deviant responses in abnormal environments may not be nonadaptive

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pink panda

New Member
Korean
Hello, guys.
It would be greatly appreciated if anyone can rephrase the underlined part into more readable sentences.
Thanks in advance.

A trait can be said to be adaptive if it is maintained in a population by selection. We can put the matter more precisely by saying that another trait is nonadaptive, or “abnormal,” if it reduces the fitness of individuals that consistently manifest it under environmental circumstances that are usual for the species. In other words, deviant responses in abnormal environments may not be nonadaptive — they may simply reflect flexibility in a response that is quite adaptive in the environments ordinarily encountered by the species. A trait can be switched from an adaptive to a nonadaptive status by a simple change in the environment . For example, the sickle-cell trait of human beings, determined by the heterozygous state of a single gene, is adaptive under living conditions in Africa, where it confers some degree of resistance to falciparum malaria. In Americans of African descent, it is nonadaptive, for the simple reason that its bearers are no longer confronted by malaria.

Sociobiology
Edward O. Wilson, Honorary Curator in Entomology and University Research Professor Emeritus Edward O Wilson
 
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  • se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    We say that a peculiarity is "abnormal" if it does not help the person (or animal etc) with the peculiarity to thrive in his environment.
    If the environment changes and the peculiarity becomes useful, the peculiarity is no longer abnormal.
    So any or most abnormalities have the potential to cease to be abnormal.
     

    pink panda

    New Member
    Korean
    We say that a peculiarity is "abnormal" if it does not help the person (or animal etc) with the peculiarity to thrive in his environment.
    If the environment changes and the peculiarity becomes useful, the peculiarity is no longer abnormal.
    So any or most abnormalities have the potential to cease to be abnormal.
    Thank you so much! I vaguely graped what that means before, and your answer helped me to see it more clearly,
    but I still don't get what "they may simply reflect flexibility in a response that is quite adaptive in the environments ordinarily encountered by the species" part means.
     
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    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Different specimens of a species may react in different ways to the same stimulus (flexibility). In some (normal) contexts these responses can be beneficial for the specimen ("adaptive"). But in other, unusual and dangerous contexts they might be harmful.

    (Sometimes the precise scientific terminology can obscure a basically rather simple point!)
     

    pink panda

    New Member
    Korean
    Different specimens of a species may react in different ways to the same stimulus (flexibility). In some (normal) contexts these responses can be beneficial for the specimen ("adaptive"). But in other, unusual and dangerous contexts they might be harmful.

    (Sometimes the precise scientific terminology can obscure a basically rather simple point!)
    Got it! Thanks!!
     
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