The Red Queen Hypothesis


The red queen said to Alice:

Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.

- Through the Looking-Glass, Lewis Carroll


The Red Queen Hypothesis is a theory of evolution developed by American evolutionary biologist Leigh Van Valen (1935 - 2010).

In his interpretation of evolution, all species must ‘run’ meaning to continually evolve in order to stay in the same place and

continue to exist. Organisms must constantly adapt and evolve, which explains, to some extent the co-evolution between

competing species.

Sitting at the top of a double decker bus, which had stopped next to a Turkish supermarket, I saw a young fruit and vegetable

vender call out the day’s discounts. Apples, pears, and peaches were lying in boxes that were open from the top. In each of the

boxes there was a colourful sheet of plastic made to house the fruits for transportation from far away countries. Light purple, dark

blue - the colours didn’t seem to be very natural, but sometimes complementary colours can make the fruit look more vivid. The

recesses held the fruit like a rounded hand to protect them from being crushed. Most fruits on offer fit in to the palm, as they are

cultivated to be eaten by humans. In the beginning the plastic must have been cast from the shape of the fruit, but at some point,

this process was reversed and the shape of fruit made to fit the plastic form.  



From the publication “the colour orange is named after the fruit orange”, 2016