Adaptationism and Optimality (Cambridge Studies in by Steven Hecht Orzack, Elliott Sober

By Steven Hecht Orzack, Elliott Sober

The speculation of adaptationism argues that common choice includes enough explanatory energy in itself to account for all evolution. notwithstanding, there are differing perspectives in regards to the potency, or optimality, of the variation version of clarification. If the adaptationism concept is utilized, are strength and assets getting used as optimally as attainable? Adaptationism and Optimality combines contributions from biologists and philosophers, and gives a scientific remedy of foundational, conceptual, and methodological matters surrounding the idea of adaptationism.

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Additional info for Adaptationism and Optimality (Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Biology)

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At present, however, we lack a conceptual framework for integrating these diverse types of data. Our primary mission in this chapter is to develop one such framework based on likelihood ratios. As we hope to show, this likelihood approach to the study of adaptation not only clarifies the hidden assumptions of adaptationist studies but also provides a common language for communication among disciplines. In particular, we believe that this approach will clarify the interrelationship between studies of uniquely evolved characters and the phylogenetic distribution of analogous variation.

Yet little attention has been paid to the topography of real or theoretical fitness landscapes. The authors describe several recent studies of the curvature of an adaptive landscape and its relationship to the degree of phenotypic or genetic variation in a population. Their examples include models of the classic life history interaction between body size and age at first reproduction and Gilchrist’s recent models of thermally sensitive mating and oviposition rates. The results illustrate the complementarity of fitness landscapes and genetical models.

For example, the reconstruction on the left shows a shift in pollination type early and then selection rapidly leading to the evolution of red petals. In the second case, red petals went to fixation before the shift to bird pollination and, hence, their evolution did not involve selection for bird attraction. All other scenarios would be considered and would be summed to give the overall likelihood score. Because scenarios involving an early shift in selective regime can contribute a large amount of the overall likelihood under the adaptive hypothesis, Ladapt could be found to be significantly higher than Lalt even though the regime shift is traced to the same branch as the character’s origin.

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