Definition of Red Queen hypothesis in English:

Red Queen hypothesis


  • The hypothesis that organisms are constantly struggling to keep up with one another in an evolutionary race between predator and prey species.

    • ‘Taking an experimental approach to paleoecology, we evaluated the prey portion of Van Valen's Red Queen hypothesis by retrieving diapausing eggs from lake sediments for laboratory tests of evolutionary responses.’
    • ‘Evolutionary biologists call this phenomenon, in which an organism evolves just to stay in place, the Red Queen hypothesis.’
    • ‘A popular theory is the Red Queen hypothesis, named after the Lewis Carroll character who tells Alice that she must keep running simply to stay in the same place.’


Late 20th century: named from a passage in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, in which the Red Queen tells Alice that ‘it takes all the running you can do to stay in the same place’.