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I have been aware of the term triage for more than half a century, but probably never looked it up in a dictionary until this week. TheFreeDictionary.com defines it:

tri·age – n.

1. A process for sorting injured people (species) into groups based on their need for or likely benefit from immediate medical treatment. Triage is used in hospital emergency rooms, on battlefields, and at disaster sites when limited medical resources must be allocated.
2. A system used to allocate a scarce commodity, such as food, only to those (species) capable of deriving the greatest benefit from it.

3. A process in which (living-)things are ranked in terms of importance or priority – (in the environment in which they are found):

When reading this I was struck by how similar these definitions are to the processes of Natural Selection and inserted the (bold words) for clarification.

#1 works for Natural Selection by just replacing the word people with species and accepting the word injured in a broader sense because a species is always under threat equal to injury, it is of extinction (99+% are gone). The second sentence of #1 is specific to location where there are doctors, but if we think of the decider of life or death not as a human doctor but as Mother Nature, it too is acceptable.

#2 Is a good definition as it stands of Natural Selection, especially when referring to it as a system. Perhaps for clarification the word (species) could be inserted before capable. In the definition as it was published the species is implied, but not stated, to be limited to humans.

#3 Would be better if the term things was changed to living-things, and, in the environment in which they are found, was added. Each of these changes is a minor enhancement, a clarification of what is already stated in the existing definitions.

In each of the three published definitions the words and implications could be expanded from humans to living-things and still be acceptable as a definition. Sometimes, farmers, livestock men and animal shelters cull their living things based on triage. They are limited by resources, such as food or space, and must destroy the least fit.

TheFreeDictionary definition of triage could also be applied to Adam Smith‘s 1776 AD concept of the Invisible Hand which directs the most adapted business to prosper and live, and the poorly adapted to fail and die. His theory was picked up by Charles Darwin in 1859 and applied to living things and the term Invisible Hand changed to Natural Selection.

Are there other applications of Natural Selection waiting to be revealed?