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Would evolution run the same twice?


Question asked by: knowitall
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This is a frequently asked question - namely if we were to rewind the clock and let natural events take the same course again, would we see the same mix of creatures appear?

The opinion is divided. For a long time it was thought that evolution was entirely random and that anything that happened was just the result of chance and there was no order behind the system.

Recently this has changed with more and more scientists suggesting that there are certain constraints that are consistent in physics and biological structures that constrain what is likely to succeed and hence what is likely to evolve.

For instance, there are a certain number of ways of constructing an eye to see visible light that appear successful - e.g. you see convergence across species as one solution is independently developed many times. This suggests that if evolution were re-run the same sort of solution would again be reached.

The controversy raises with regards how far this is taken - would certain features re-appear, or would the whole structure be similar - e.g. with other highly intelligent creatures like man, would the eyes need to be close to the brain? Would large animals need some vessel to pump liquid around the body containing nutrients (a heart, blood, a nervous system). The debate is currently raging!

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Question Keywords

twice  run  evolution  

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