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It is in the interactions between those systems where the complexity emerges, like religious pressure and science flowing along trade routes, or your tourism pushing the populace of other Civs to consider adopting your ideology,” Beach says. “It definitely takes some time playing with this expansion to get comfortable with all these interactions. In 1972, Niles Eldridge and Step hen Jay Gould published their theory of punctuated equilibrium, which has generated plenty of controversy .� The basic idea is that species usually evolve slowly and even remain in a kind of stasis, except in exceptional times, when they can evolve relatively quickly.� Those exceptional times are often when new ecological niches become available, such as a new biological feature that allows exploitation of previously unavailable niches, or after an ecosystem is wiped clean by a mass extinction.� If a creature finds a way of life that works and it can keep exploiting/defending its unique niche, and the niche does not disappear, it can keep doing it for hundreds of millions of years without any significant changes, such as the horsetail, nautilus, and coelacanth have done. [186] � Gene duplication is an important kind of genetic innovation that leads to speciation, which begins when a gene is duplicated, seemingly in error, and gets a �free ride,� like a spare part that never gets used.� The spare can then �experiment,� which can lead to a new and useful gene that perhaps codes for a new biological feature that enhances an organism�s ability to survive or reproduce.� About 15% of humanity�s genes arose through gene duplication events, and in eukaryotes, gene duplication is around 1% per gene per million years. [187] � In the wake of mass extinctions, new species appear at high rates in what is called an adaptive radiation .� A leading hypothesis is that those post-extinction times allow for a golden age when life is easy, without the resource competition typical in more crowded biomes.� In such environments, organisms with duplicate genes and other genetic �defects� survive, and after long enough, those mutations become useful and lead to new species.� The most famous such adaptive radiation was the Cambrian Explosion, although its character was different from other radiations, when new body plans were invented as never before. [188] Oxyg en levels have fluctuated far more than temperature, ocean salinity, and pH have during the eon of complex life.� Peter Ward proposed that fluctuating atmospheric oxygen levels have not only contributed to mass extinction scenarios, but adapting to low oxygen levels has been a key stimulus for biological innovation. [189] � In summary, speciation is a reaction of organisms to challenge and opportunity which is eventually reflected in their DNA.� Until Ediacaran fossils were recognized for what they were, the Cambrian Period (c. 541 to 485 mya) was considered to have produced the earliest known fossils, and that situation vexed scientists from Darwin onward. [190] �If animals just came into existence from nothing, the Creationist arguments of Darwin�s time may have had some validity.� Darwin attributed the lack of Precambrian fossils to the geological record�s imperfection.� As this essay�s previous sections have shown, scientists have filled many gaps and Darwin�s theory has held up well.� The Cambrian P eriod, however, is of eonic significance and still a source of great controversy.� The Cambrian Explosion was unique and the development of the first complex, modern-looking ecosystem. [191] � Although the Cambrian Explosion is the most spec tacular event in the fossil record, it is questioned whether it was really an explosion at all, and many contenders for the �cause� of the explosion have been offered.� Various hypotheses fell by the wayside over the years, but the hunt for one �cause� may be futile.� One factor may have triggered its more dramatic manifestations, but several dynamics played their roles.� T he re are going to be proximate and ultimate causes for events such as that.� First and forem ost, the Cambrian Explosion was about size, which was aided by oxygenating the seafloor, which interacted with developmental changes (from egg to adult) and new ecological relationships. [192] � The currently predominant hypotheses feature geophysical and geochemical processes interacting with biological ones. [193] �The increase in organism size that marked the rise of complex life is today thought to be a response to predation, which led to life�s �arms race.� [194] � The comp etition between organisms, locked in predator/prey, parasite/host, grazer/grazed dynamics, is thought to be behind a great deal of evolutionary innovation called coevolution, as organisms adapted to each other.� The Red Queen hypothesis posits that the constant battle between those competing life forms led to sexual reproduction and other innovations. [195] During the Cambrian Explosion, an ecosystem developed in which life on the sea floor, surface, and water column all interacted for the first time.� All but one of the environmental factors currently and prominently considered were energy dynamics, as the environment provided either too much or too little energy, and the nutrient hypothesis ( calcium in this case ) will be revisited numerous times in this essay.� A lack of nutrients, mineral and otherwise, always meant that the energy-driven dynamics that delivered the nutrients were curtailed.� If enough energy is properly applied, all nutrients can be abundant.

Pages: 666

Publisher: Ulan Press (August 31, 2012)

ISBN: B00AP709SG

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