What if evolution is more than individual species adaptation? What if ecosystems evolve as a whole, where every creature plays an important part?

Does adaptation occur on the group and ecosystem level as well as on the individual level? Not quite. There’s a quieter way to view it, i.e. systems have no DNA to evolve, hence they don’t do that.

Every species adapts to its instantaneous environment. As the environment shifts, so does the target of the adaptation. It is easy to observe that when one species’ changes conflict with another’s, progress will slow. And when two species’ adaptations turn out to be mutually supportive, those adaptations there is a synergy in play as both enhance not just their own but each other’s survival. Over time the purely random nature of evolution uncovers adaptations that work and favors those. It also uncovers adaptations that work less well, and disfavors those.

Before long, close collaboration among multiple species is almost fated to arise on its own. No magic hand, no gaia concept, nothing but the working out of systems that respond in random ways. Pure randomness exposes these tiny happy accidents. May the happiest accident win.

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