You are an ichneumon. You mated and yours eggs are fertile. If you can’t find a caterpillar on which to lay your eggs, your young will starve. When the eggs hatch, the young will eat any body in which they find themselves, so if you don’t kill them by emitting them broadcast over the landscape, they’ll eat you alive. But if you let them drop over the fields you will probably be dead yourself, of old age, before they even hatch to starve, and the whole show will be over and done, and wretched one it was. You feel them coming, and coming, and you struggle to rise… (Dillard 540)
Where there is life, there is also death. Every single day while several babies from around the world take their first breath out of their mother’s womb, several other people will be taking their last. Not only is death a part of life, but it is also a part of evolution. The ichneumon from the quote above instinctually knows that evolution can be really cruel when the reality of “survival of the fittest” kicks in – even cruel enough to have you be eaten alive by your own offspring. Evolution is the part of life that pushes animals to grow, adapt, reproduce, and then die in order to further expand the survival rate for future generations down the line.
In one part of the article, Dillard asks the question, “Are we dealing in life, or in death?” (544) and the answer is both. Without life, there cannot be death; whereas, the death of one can help prolong the life of another. While death for some can help prolong life for others and kill off those less fit when it comes to survival, there are some certain lives that must survive because the future generations need those lives in order to continue evolution. The success of evolution relies solely on the survivors of a species, for they are core reason as to why evolution occurs.
One essentially part of evolution, and life itself, is reproduction. All species must reproduce in order to create further generations. While some species only reproduce a few offspring, some species reproduce thousands upon thousands of offspring. The species that reproduce continuously, only to have a few of their offspring survive while the rest die. One species that reproduces like this is the gooseneck barnacles....