Monday, February 27, 2006

 

Life, the Remake

"If the history of life were to play out again from the beginning, it would have a similar plot and outcomes, although with a different cast and timing, argues UC Davis paleontologist Geerat Vermeij in a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

'Evolution at this level, like the rest of history, is predictable, perhaps more predictable than people want to imagine,' Vermeij said. 'Many traits are so advantageous under so many circumstances that you are likely to see the same things again and again.'

Vermeij's view contrasts with that put forward by the late Stephen Jay Gould and others, who argued that the history of life is so dependent on improbable events and includes so many possible paths that the chances of repetition are vanishingly small." [News]

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