Evolution is punctuated by drastic discontinuities

Contrary to what adaptationism would predict, evolution is not a gradual change of traits in an optimization process, but is punctuated with sudden discontinuities. This is consonant with pleiotropy, in that it highlights the internal constraints of an organism guiding its own evolutionary trajectory. It’s not trivial to move out of local optima in evolution, and it requires a coordinated and unlikely choreography of changes across multiple domains. However, those unlikely shifts correspond to the observed discontinuities in evolution.

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