When most people think of the phrase survival of the fittest, a few different things could come to mind. Most often that phrase is used when comparing one person to another, but not often meant to be literal. If we look back into the past that phrase could possibly be meant literally. One of the most amazing quotes that read over the past few days was so simple yet absolutely made me think in a completely different perspective than before. “You don’t have to run faster than a bear, you just have to run faster than your friend.” This statement puts a few different scenarios into text. The first being that years ago, we, as humans, were not the big mighty hunters on the land. We had absolutely no protection, no built in weapons, (such as claws, big razor sharp teeth, etc.) our speed was far slower than, that of a mountain lion, and we were and still are generally clumsy, compared to the big animals still in the world today. When we think of this we have to understand that there is more to survival than just having a defense, and a good offence. Our ancestors had to adapt, help, hunt, cook, and many other things including fighting one another. Although raging war on one another was not very profitable, and had very few positive results, our ancestors relied more on unity. The fact that helping one another, and companionship brought them closer together, making survival easier for everyone. The men would hunt during the day (not at night cause of the predators) and the women would harvest food such as ekwa, a root with basic nutrients, suitable for our ancestors. With this helping and unity the ancestors were able to reproduce, grow a family, and continue this tradition as long as time permitted them to. There was also the chance for a mistake, or another, stronger family to take them by surprise, and leaving them with nothing, or possibly killing them. The strongest part of survival may lie in unity. Let’s say for example the village that you are residing at gets raided my two big angry men, because your husband was out hunting and scared his meal away (this could happen more often than not if your close to another village). So these men come in, and want to kill you, because your husband was clumsy and not quiet in the village. They would do exactly that if you didn’t have unity in your life. The purpose for unity is surrounding you with others that help in the time of need, or when an opportunity arises. These people are called alloparents. Then help if they are around and if they feel the need to. Alloparents were usually found among smaller groups, possibly outsider stuck together, or a small family that left a bigger community. Not blood related, but rather sticking together, for a better chance of survival, and coexisting for a common goal. Even when we look back to bipedal apes, anthropologists are finding that they were cared for both their parents and alloparents.
On the other side of the spectrum there is many different ways not to survive, or for cultures traditions to go sour. Genetics show cultures that interbreed are more likely to fail and have health problems, ultimately leading, to the culture diminishing. This has happened in the past and still continues today in the American culture. Although highly looked down upon, some people are guilty of incest. In Alaska there are tribes that have certain diet traditions, and have currently been not able to eat that type of food anymore, or not as often. This is part of the basic survival for mankind. If something is not working, we have the will power to change it, tradition or not. The Hopi have certain traditions themselves. They believe that gifts are to be given when greeting someone or another culture. The first contact with the Hopi and the USA was in 1852. The president of the USA was presented with a cornstarch cigarette, and a pahos. By offering these things they hoped to open the door with them and the USA, but the attempt was unsuccessful. The diplomatic relations from one culture to another can often be started with a gift; however, some cultures (like our own) do not see this as a proper etiquette, and ignore the meeting. Thus could end with empty possibilities and lost hopes for the Hopi people.
Survival has always been something that is imbedded in our minds, or just as natural instincts. To go beyond them and to try to make things better is what humans as a whole are very good at. We will continue to strive for success, and survival in the ever changing world.