Natural Selection’s Influence On Animals Sleep Patterns

1123 words - 5 pages

“Multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die” is a quotation from Charles Darwin who claimed the theory ‘Natural Selection’. Another assertion of natural selection from Herbert Spencer is “The survival of the fittest.” These sayings indicate the traits of natural selection, elimination and revolution. Natural selection makes genes, habits, species, and other features that are inferior to the others eliminated.It also executes revolution to adapt the environment. A feature that seems to be useless to refer to but has remained from natural selection is ‘sleeping’. While the animals sleep, they do not search for food, eat, find mates, procreate or feed their young, and the animals are exposed to the danger of being prey. ‘Sleep’ has survived because of its distinctive functions: resting and healing regardless of these some negative aspects of sleep. Although sleep has distinctive functions, natural selectionstill demands revolution on ‘sleep’ to fit into the environment. Each animal’s sleep pattern has been alteredsignificantly by natural selectionon threefactors; the times, the places, the methods.
Firstly, each animal’s sleeping time varies due to its selected life style.Nocturnalanimals sleep in whole daytime and carry out their activities during night to adapt to the climate and to protect themselves from predators.Protection from climate and predators is the main reason of being nocturnal. Nocturnal animal usually lives inan extremely hot place like a desert. Although the average overnight temperature in desert (-3.9°C)is not mild enough for activities, daytime average temperature (38°C) is toohigh that animals cannot move their bodies in the climate. As a result, they choose to sleep in burrows duringthe day. These animals also become nocturnal to protect themselves or their offspring from diurnal predators; theyare active during night to protect from the higher level animals on the food chain. Among nocturnal animals, the antelope squirrel, the badger, the gopher, the coyote and the kit fox are classified as a desert nocturnal and raccoon, owl, and the skunk are protective nocturnal.Hibernation animals’ sleep in the cold weatheris another adaptation to the climates.After hibernators store food in their body, nests, dens and burrows in fall, their bodiesadjust the temperature outside to prepare a long sleep.Especially, three kinds of animals represent the hibernation: light hibernators, warm-blood and cold-blood animals. Light hibernators such as bears, raccoons and skunks just take a long nap rather than a long slumber. Warm-blood animals like woodchucks, chipmunks and bats stay in a sleeping state in the whole winter. Cold-blood animals such as reptiles and amphibiansassimilate their body temperature to the environment and hibernate to escape from cold and hot weather. Lastly, body mass influences on their sleeping time.The bigger the body mass is, the more possibilities to be eatenbecause big animals cannot move theirbodies...

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