Exaptation and Beyond: Multilevel Function Evolution in Biology and Technology


  • Andriani Pierpaolo
  • Brun Christine
  • Carignani Giuseppe
  • Cattani Gino

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Exaptation contributes significantly to evolution of entities ‘born and made’, but little has been written about differences and similarities in the way exaptation takes place in the artificial and natural world. We succinctly describe how such processes take place in the natural and artificial world and focus in particular on the dynamic effect between functional shift of a module of an organism (or artifact) and the resulting change at the level where selection occurs. We show that when exaptation is considered from a modular viewpoint, some of the differences that have plagued the analogy between natural and artificial evolution disappears.

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