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Computer Scientists Suggest New Spin on Origins of Evolvability

A representation of the evolution of man.

A new model of the way organisms evolve provides new insights into evolvability over generations.


Researchers at the University of Central Florida (UCF) and the University of Texas at Austin (UTA) have developed a simulated model of the way organisms evolve, which they say offers insights about evolvability over generations.

During the simulations, organisms became more evolvable without any outside pressure from other organisms to compete to survive. Future species are likely their descendants, and these evolvable species accumulate over time even without selective pressure, says UTA's Joel Lehman.

The simulations were based on a conceptual algorithm. "The algorithms used for the simulations are abstractly based on how organisms are evolved, but not on any particular real-life organism," Lehman says.

The hypothesis contrasts with most popular theories for why evolvability increases. "An important implication of this result is that traditional selective and adaptive explanations for phenomena such as increasing evolvability deserve more scrutiny and may turn out unnecessary in some cases," says UCF professor Kenneth Stanley.

From UCF Today
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