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The Manly Art of Self-Defense: On the Neutrality of Fitness Components

Bruce Wallace
The Quarterly Review of Biology
Vol. 66, No. 4 (Dec., 1991), pp. 455-465
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2831327
Page Count: 11
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The Manly Art of Self-Defense: On the Neutrality of Fitness Components
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Abstract

Data on 15 physical characteristics of contenders in 137 championship prizefights in three weight categories (light-, middle-, and heavyweights) have been analysed. These data are seen as being drawn from a highly culled population, and as bearing on what are, in effect, components of fitness. In heavyweights, the analysis suggests that these characteristics are indeed related to winning or losing (i.e., they are selectively important). As an overwhelmingly general rule, however, winners and losers do not differ significantly with respect to these measures nor, for the lighter weight classes, is there evidence of stabilizing selection. The exceptions to this general rule are discussed ("just-so" story): under some circumstances, a correlation between total fitness and one of its components may be detected in a highly selected population. Under most circumstances, on the contrary, this correlation all but vanishes.

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