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Understanding Innovation And Imitation In Evolution, Karen Kovaka Jan 2017

Understanding Innovation And Imitation In Evolution, Karen Kovaka

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Biologists have a long history of arguing about the relative importance of organisms and environments in driving evolution. Do organisms passively respond to their environments or actively shape them? Is the environment just a filter that removes the least fit organisms from each generation, or also a source of new traits? The most recent incarnation of these debates focuses on developmental plasticity, a developing organism's sensitivity to environmental inputs. All organisms are plastic to some degree. Many can change their sex, morphology, and behavior in response to their environments. The question for biologists is, does the widespread presence of ...