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There is a humanoid sentient species that gets stronger after recovering from life-threatening experiences. What kind of evolutionary pressures would lead to the evolution of this trait?

For clarification, in this universe there is a magical energy which can strengthen the body, like making bones harder to break, allowing muscles to lift more weight, and making skin harder to pierce. The process is mainly physiologically controlled, so you can't enter in a mood and increase the amount of this energy you receive a lot. Normally you can only gain it slowly, similarly to how you increase muscular mass by bodybuilding.

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    $\begingroup$ This is a promising question but is in desperate need of expansion. Your "clarification" about magic energy doesn't actually clarify anything and just makes the question even broader than it already is. $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy Sep 20 '17 at 13:33
  • $\begingroup$ Would you be so kind and define "near death experience", "species" and what F1 said? A near death experience is often used in a spiritual way to put some interpretation or context on what some humans feel during moments close to death and has very little meaning for animals, trees or people not experiencing such things. I hope this also clarifies the need to specify species. $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Sep 20 '17 at 13:38
  • $\begingroup$ I hope you don't mind, but I edited the question to fix up the spelling and grammar a bit. I don't think I've changed anything that will affect the meaning of the question. $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy Sep 20 '17 at 13:56
  • $\begingroup$ fine i don't think you changed to,and it's helpfull $\endgroup$ – Jão Sep 20 '17 at 13:58
  • $\begingroup$ I like your edits, please excuse the follow up question: You do not care about how this would happen biologically/magically but only the "evolutionary pressures" are of your concern? I think "life-threatening injuries" is about as long as "near death-experience" and much more precise = the better term. You should consider replacing every "near death-experience" because people might think you are talking about "people seeing the light in the tunnel". $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Sep 20 '17 at 14:19
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Is this Saiyan scenario? :) As for the answer, the same way evolutionary pressures work anyway. Lets say there was a mutation allowing you to use some invisible power or magical energy. It would allow those possessing the mutation to survive where others do not. Those mutated genes spread slightly better than the alternative, but noticeably. Then, disaster strikes and the only survivors are those carrying mutated genes. And the funny thing is, similar scenario already happened. Long ago, in a distant past, there was no oxygen in the atmosphere. Suddenly, cyanobacteria, those multiplying masters of green, invented photosynthesis. It produced pure oxygen as a biproduct. And oxygen was a poison to all competitors of the bacteria. Only those who got immunity somehow or found how to survive with poison all around them got to live and procreate. More details https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Oxygenation_Event

Fight or flight response, extremely hightened? Your body is stronger than you know, there are artificial limits preventing you from regularly punching doors off a car and lifting trucks that fell on your child. Basically, you can do that, but you can't do that all the time, because your body will tear itself apart. Your arm muscles are strong enough to break your arm; maybe those with mutation are able to sort of remove those limits one at a time or get hightened perception of their own real strength. Basically, we are all Shaolin monks in dangerous situations, only in 5 seconds bursts.

See here: https://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/04/teen-daughters-lift-3000-pound-tractor-off-dad/

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  • $\begingroup$ yes,but how they come to get stronger after getting hit to almost death? $\endgroup$ – Jão Sep 20 '17 at 14:30
  • $\begingroup$ Fight or flight response, extremely hightened? Your body is stronger than you know, there are artificial limits preventing you from regularly punching doors off a car and lifting trucks that fell on your child. Basically, you can do that, but you can't do that all the time, because your body will tear itself apart. Your arm muscles are strong enough to break your arm; maybe those with mutation are able to sort of remove those limits one at a time or get hightened perception of their own real strength. Basically, we are all Shaolin monks in dangerous situations, only in 5 seconds bursts. $\endgroup$ – jo1storm Sep 21 '17 at 6:32
  • $\begingroup$ i was thinking in something more permanent but in my description it can probably be applied permanently like whatever regulates your strength realizes your environment is more dangerous than expected $\endgroup$ – Jão Sep 21 '17 at 11:04
  • $\begingroup$ You could make it permanent. Hypothetical example: Lets say humans have some special muscles in their stomach that can be turned around. The other side of the muscles, if they are clenched the right way, is harder than steel. If someone tries to cut you with a sword and those muscles are clenched that way, the sword will only cut skin a bit but no deeper injury. 99% of people doesn't know they can do that, because your brain doesn't let you know.It can do serious damage if they are untrained and kept clenched.But those 1%...they were forced to use them.Then they decided to train those muscles. $\endgroup$ – jo1storm Sep 21 '17 at 11:11
  • $\begingroup$ Now, they can feel them and learn how to use that ability. In a month of training, they can keep them permanently tightened without bad consequences. Use it in whatever way you like. Near death experience unlocks the ability but it still takes training to master it. That's how I would have done it. Fun fact: humans are one of the best runners in animal kingdom thanks to our endurance. That doesn't mean every single human has the same endurance, only that it might have it, after training. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persistence_hunting $\endgroup$ – jo1storm Sep 21 '17 at 11:18
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This magic power could be invoked by the mind of the species after a near death experience because the species gains mental strength from the experience.

Some humans show this behaviour. They become mentally secure because they know how death feels like and that there is nothing to fear from it.

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    $\begingroup$ Many [shamanic] cultures enforce near-death experience as part of [spiritual] initiation rites. This can happen in fight, hunger, pain, [poisonous] drug trips, isolation, or combinations of these. If the teens survive, the are matured. Citation from [forgotten]: "I don't fear death. I've already died." $\endgroup$ – mviereck Sep 20 '17 at 13:50
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Dangerous spirit journey.

The Hanged Man tarot card

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hanged_Man_(Tarot_card)

There is much precedent in the risky spirit journey. One risks his own life to seek wisdom or power from supernatural sources. The risk must be real and the seeker might not return.

https://www.biddytarot.com/tarot-card-meanings/major-arcana/hanged-man/

The Hanged Man is a willing victim, someone who has chosen the path of sacrifice to accomplish a higher goal. The Hanged Man represents the willingness to forsake the temptations of instant gratification for a higher cause, and because of this willing sacrifice he accomplishes the goals he has in his heart.

And he might die in the process.

If I accidentally choke on marshmallows and almost die, that cannot be the source of my new power because it would just be too silly. The risk to my life must be encountered during a spirit quest, which will probably be something more austere and badass than the Chubby Bunny Challenge - a Sun Ceremony, or Odin Hanging from the Tree, or fighting the Balrog. The spirits deem me worthy and I return from my journey marked by it, different from what I was before.

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