Question of the day

We’re watching the Attenborough narrated “Life of Birds” shows on Netflix. After viewing segments on birds which had lost their ability to fly, H.o.p. asked, “What about play and evolution? If they had fun flying, doesn’t that count in evolution?”

So, what is the role of play in evolutionary process?

Published by

Juli Kearns

Juli Kearns is the author of Thunderbird and the Ball of Twine and Unending Wonders of a Subatomic World (or) In Search of the Great Penguin. She is also an artist/photographer, and the person behind the web alter of "Idyllopus Press".

2 thoughts on “Question of the day”

  1. It’s an excellent point – play has a role in the evolutionary process if it helps the species to adapt and survive. So for birds, ‘having fun’ is probably not enough of an adaptive force for those who have lost flight. Also the purpose of play is much wider than simply to ‘have fun’. In fact, ‘having fun’ is probably the engine (motivation) which runs playing in the same way that reward is the engine of working.

    For humans, and other mammals who rear their young, play has a lot of different purposes – education, bonding, transmission of skills etc. all of which are essential for survival of the species. Humans have developed play into a rich and varied occupation way beyond any species and it could be argued that human play is one of the species’ evolutionary advantages because it is the breeding ground of creativity, innovation and accidental discoveries.

    As an occupational therapist, I’m obviously very interested in the power of play!

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