Monday, September 03, 2007

Metaevolution - Evolution of Evolution

Author: Paras Chopra

I've thought on this concept for the last few months, I thought it was my original concept. But it already exists. Well, 'Metaevolution' is, unsurprisingly, evolution of evolution. But the existing concept of metaevolution is quite different from mine. Existing concept defines meta evolution as evolution of evolution since the big-bang ( i.e. the birth of universe), but I define metaevolution as the evolution of evolution (EoE) since the birth of life (on earth?).

This means that all throughout life's history evolution has not remained same, it itself changes with time to time. See, this is a two way process: evolution changes the organism so that it tries to become perfect for existing environment. But an organism is not separate from environment; it is very well a part of environment. It changes and modifies the environment constantly. Thus, evolution in altered environment doesn't work in the same way. Thus, evolution has been changed. If there is more than one organism in a particular environment, each affects the environment in his own way. So there is more complex change in environment. Each changes the environment in his own way and thus affecting the process of evolution which applies to all organisms in that environment.

The only species which has had major affect on metaevolution has been undoubtedly, Humans!! I say this because humans, thanks to their evolved brains, developed great tools and techniques to alter environments. These all stories of mass extinctions of rare species are demonstrations of nothing but meta-evolution. The humans have changed the course of evolution; therefore, the incapable species don't fit into the environment anymore. Thus they die. I don't see anything wrong with it, but the point is that an organism (us) may change the environment to such an extent which even removes his own food source. Thus the organism is doomed to die.

Meta-evolution is even more interesting concept than evolution. And this is because it involves a complex interplay between organism, environment and evolution itself. Metaevolution may also be influenced by external events such as change in climatic conditions (change of earth from a violent to an earthly place), meteor collision (it wiped out dinosaurs), etc. I wonder what would have been life today if dinosaurs didn't go extinct. Would humans still have arisen???

See, we can very well say that life is helping in the evolution of environment on earth rather than the other way. But it is all the same thing in light of metaevolution. It doesn't matter if we say if organism changes environment or environment changes organism, the fact is that there is a constant change between the two. And due to the change the evolution itself evolves.

But, does evolution also follows the same rules such as survival of the fittest. Maybe, we can know the answer if we can see the affect same organisms on two radically different environments such as two different planets (if life exists beyond earth). Or, we may very well compare the different aspects of metaevolution on a computer simulation. In my view, the essence of evolution in extreme places such as hot-springs or glaciers is very much different than we see at other places on earth. How is the evolution different there? It has been suggested by the researchers that the conditions of Hydrothermal Systems represent early conditions of earth. So by studying, the evolution there we might notice how the evolution has been shaped on the earth. But I truly metaevolution needs more thought and study. But if it is true, we see that evolution has evolved into an entirely different species at places where life exists on the edge.

Can there be metametaevolution?? Yes, of course we can do anything on computer simulations. Or if alternate universes exist!!!

About the author: Paras Chopra was born in Patiala, Punjab, India on 3rd June 1987. His interests lie in subjects ranging from Synthetic Biology to Philosophy to Artificial Intelligence. His goal in life is to achieve immortality. Visit him at: http://www.paraschopra.com

He also runs NaramCheez. Visit NaramCheez at: http://naramcheez.paraschopra.com

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