… the snail, whose tender horns being hit

Shrinks backward in his shelly cave with pain,

And there, all smothered up, in shade doth sit,

Long after fearing to creep forth again. …

— William Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis (1593)

For many decades, ecology textbooks presented classical competition theory without reservation. The central principle here is that two species sharing an essential resource that is in limited supply cannot coexist for long because the competitively superior species will eliminate the other one. The implication is that ecological communities should be characterized by division of resources among species, or niche partitioning....

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