5 years ago

Stability-based sorting: The forgotten process behind (not only) biological evolution

Stability-based sorting: The forgotten process behind (not only) biological evolution
Natural selection is considered to be the main process that drives biological evolution. It requires selected entities to originate dependent upon one another by the means of reproduction or copying, and for the progeny to inherit the qualities of their ancestors. However, natural selection is a manifestation of a more general persistence principle, whose temporal consequences we propose to name “stability-based sorting” (SBS). Sorting based on static stability, i.e., SBS in its strict sense and usual conception, favours characters that increase the persistence of their holders and act on all material and immaterial entities. Sorted entities could originate independently from each other, are not required to propagate and need not exhibit heredity. Natural selection is a specific form of SBS—sorting based on dynamic stability. It requires some form of heredity and is based on competition for the largest difference between the speed of generating its own copies and their expiration. SBS in its strict sense and selection thus have markedly different evolutionary consequences that are stressed in this paper. In contrast to selection, which is opportunistic, SBS is able to accumulate even momentarily detrimental characters that are advantageous for the long-term persistence of sorted entities. However, it lacks the amplification effect based on the preferential propagation of holders of advantageous characters. Thus, it works slower than selection and normally is unable to create complex adaptations. From a long-term perspective, SBS is a decisive force in evolution—especially macroevolution. SBS offers a new explanation for numerous evolutionary phenomena, including broad distribution and persistence of sexuality, altruistic behaviour, horizontal gene transfer, patterns of evolutionary stasis, planetary homeostasis, increasing ecosystem resistance to disturbances, and the universal decline of disparity in the evolution of metazoan lineages. SBS acts on all levels in all biotic and abiotic systems. It could be the only truly universal evolutionary process, and an explanatory framework based on SBS could provide new insight into the evolution of complex abiotic and biotic systems.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0022519317304137

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