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Chance in Evolution$
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Grant Ramsey and Charles H. Pence

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226401744

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226401911.001.0001

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Contingent Evolution: Not by Chance Alone

Contingent Evolution: Not by Chance Alone

(p.223) Chapter 9 Contingent Evolution: Not by Chance Alone
Chance in Evolution

Eric Desjardins

University of Chicago Press

This paper articulates a view of contingent evolution in terms of path dependence, a notion captured by the idea of dependence on past vagaries. As such, path dependence combines two forms of contingency: chance and (causal) dependence on more or less extended series of past events. The first part of the paper elaborates on the conceptual distinction between chance and path dependence, and analyzes how the Long-Term Evolutionary Experiment (LTEE) recently addressed the challenge of obtaining observational evidence permitting the distinction between chancy and path-dependent evolutionary processes. The second part of the paper explains why generative entrenchment and phylogenetic constraints are important sources of path dependence in macroevolution.

Keywords:   chance, path dependence, Long-Term Experimental Evolution, generative entrenchment, phylogenetic constraint, macroevolution, macroecology, Francois Jacob, LTEE

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