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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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    $\begingroup$ Could you expand on your question a bit please? I cannot understand what you are asking here. $\endgroup$
    – terdon
    Commented Oct 22, 2012 at 16:45
  • $\begingroup$ self-preservation in what sense? $\endgroup$
    – Bitwise
    Commented Oct 22, 2012 at 18:38
  • $\begingroup$ Saving one's own life by avoiding starvation/discomfort(extremes of temperatures for instance) $\endgroup$
    – Everyone
    Commented Oct 23, 2012 at 19:20

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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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  • $\begingroup$ I would argue procreation is a side-effect ... $\endgroup$
    – Everyone
    Commented Oct 23, 2012 at 19:22
  • $\begingroup$ A side effect of what? $\endgroup$
    – octern
    Commented Oct 23, 2012 at 22:32

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