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Self-preservation, or preservation anyway, probably happens throughout the animal kingdom, and perhaps through the plant kingdom as well (some plants/trees, apparently, produce chemicals to repel bugs).

Where does self-preservation stem from? Is it only about a biochemical imbalance?

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Could you expand on your question a bit please? I cannot understand what you are asking here. –  terdon Oct 22 '12 at 16:45
    
self-preservation in what sense? –  Bitwise Oct 22 '12 at 18:38
    
Saving one's own life by avoiding starvation/discomfort(extremes of temperatures for instance) –  Everyone Oct 23 '12 at 19:20
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closed as not a real question by mgkrebbs, terdon, leonardo, Rory M Oct 23 '12 at 23:10

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1 Answer

This is a prototypical case of evolution by natural selection. Any trait that prevents the organism from being eaten or destroyed will probably make that organism more likely to reproduce* than similar organisms that do not have that trait**. This results in self-preservation traits becoming more prevalent in the population and eventually ubiquitous.

* Or they reproduce more, or are able to provide for their offspring better, etc. Self-preservation behaviors that reduce reproductive success are not selected for and generally aren't common (unless they are a special case of some general trait that has a net reproductive benefit).

** Assuming that the trait is reproductively favorable after considering any trade-offs such as increased energy expenditure.

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I would argue procreation is a side-effect ... –  Everyone Oct 23 '12 at 19:22
    
A side effect of what? –  octern Oct 23 '12 at 22:32
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