A simple model of unbounded evolutionary versatility as a largest-scale trend in Organismal Evolution

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1162/106454600568357
AuthorSearch for:
TypeArticle
Journal titleArtificial Life
Volume6
Issue2
Pages109128; # of pages: 20
Subjectevolutionary trends; evolutionary progress; large-scale trends; evolutionary versatility; evolvability; Baldwin effect
AbstractThe idea that there are any large-scale trends in the evolution of biological organisms is highly controversial. It is commonly believed, for example, that there is a large-scale trend in evolution towards increasing complexity, but empirical and theoretical arguments undermine this belief. Natural selection results in organisms that are well adapted to their local environ-ments, but it is not clear how local adaptation can produce a global trend. In this paper, I present a simple computational model, in which local adaptation to a randomly changing environment results in a global trend towards increasing evolutionary versatility. In this model, for evolutionary versatility to increase without bound, the environment must be highly dynamic. The model also shows that unbounded evolutionary versatility implies an accelerating evolutionary pace. I believe that unbounded increase in evolutionary versatility is a large-scale trend in evolution. I discuss some of the testable predictions about organismal evolution that are suggested by the model.
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada; NRC Institute for Information Technology
Peer reviewedNo
NRC number43672
NPARC number8914053
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Record identifierd7e2fcb8-b7c1-4d77-8bcb-4e6c5e4fdf3b
Record created2009-04-22
Record modified2016-05-09
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