CHRIS'S LATEST RESEARCH: Settling for ‘Mr. Right Now’ better than waiting for ‘Mr. Right’

Evolutionary researchers have determined that settling for “Mr. Okay” is a better evolutionary strategy than waiting for “Mr. Perfect.” 

When studying the evolution of risk aversion, Michigan State University researchers found that it is in our nature – traced back to the earliest humans – to take the safe bet when stakes are high, such as whether or not we will mate.

“Primitive humans were likely forced to bet on whether or not they could find a better mate,” said Chris Adami, MSU professor of microbiology and molecular genetics and co-author of the paper.

“They could either choose to mate with the first, potentially inferior, companion and risk inferior offspring, or they could wait for Mr. or Ms. Perfect to come around,” he said. “If they chose to wait, they risk never mating.” 

Chris Adami featured in NOVA's The Nature of Reality Blog: Information and the Origin of Life

Image: Flickr user Tau Zero, adapted under a Creative Commons license.

Image: Flickr user Tau Zero, adapted under a Creative Commons license.

What is life?

When Erwin Schrödinger posed this question in 1944, in a book of the same name, he was 57 years old. He had won the Nobel in Physics eleven years earlier, and was arguably past his glory days. Indeed, at that time he was working mostly on his ill-fated “Unitary Field Theory.” By all accounts, the publication of “What is Life?”—venturing far outside of a theoretical physicist’s field of expertise—raised many eyebrows. How presumptuous for a physicist to take on one of the deepest questions in biology!

In the Works

From potential alien life to the basic cell structure of human beings, Chris's active research projects are changing the way we think about interdisciplinary science. Read more about his current research.

On Twitter

Chris Tweets at ChristophAdami about trying to understand how the universe works, including people and animals. And plants and microbes. So, pretty much everything.