Extinction Events Can Accelerate Evolution
Joel Lehman , Risto Miikkulainen
Published: August 12, 2015DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0132886
Source/Fonte: Joel Lehman
Extinction events impact the trajectory of biological evolution significantly. They are often viewed as upheavals to the evolutionary process. In contrast, this paper supports the hypothesis that although they are unpredictably destructive, extinction events may in the long term accelerate evolution by increasing evolvability. In particular, if extinction events extinguish indiscriminately many ways of life, indirectly they may select for the ability to expand rapidly through vacated niches. Lineages with such an ability are more likely to persist through multiple extinctions. Lending computational support for this hypothesis, this paper shows how increased evolvability will result from simulated extinction events in two computational models of evolved behavior. The conclusion is that although they are destructive in the short term, extinction events may make evolution more prolific in the long term.
Citation: Lehman J, Miikkulainen R (2015) Extinction Events Can Accelerate Evolution. PLoS ONE 10(8): e0132886. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0132886
Editor: Genlou Sun, Saint Mary’s University, CANADA
Received: December 26, 2014; Accepted: June 22, 2015; Published: August 12, 2015
Copyright: © 2015 Lehman, Miikkulainen. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited
Data Availability: All relevant data are available through figshare (http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1466784).
Funding: The authors have no support or funding to report.
Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
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