Stoch-aptation: a new term in the science of evolution

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Alejandro Martínez Abraín

Abstract

Following two seminal papers published in Paleobiology by Stephen Jay Gould and Elisabeth Vrba several decades ago, I suggest a new term (stoch-aptation) to refer to those individual traits or sets of traits that provide, just by chance, fitness advantages to species when faced with catastrophes (i.e. geological events triggering massive mortality), and that may lead to the origin of taxonomical entities above the species level. I provide as an example of stoch-aptations the set of features that helped mammals pass the Cretaceous-Paleogene transition, as well as traits behind the success of living fossils. However, the identification of specific stoch-aptations can be difficult. This missing term is necessary and useful to (a) consolidate the idea of selection at different hierarchical levels, (b) acknowledge the role of chance in the evolution of higher taxonomical categories, and (c) think of the role of geological catastrophes as generators of innovation.

Article Details

How to Cite
ABRAÍN, Alejandro Martínez. Stoch-aptation: a new term in the science of evolution. Ideas in Ecology and Evolution, [S.l.], v. 8, n. 1, june 2015. ISSN 1918-3178. Available at: <https://ojs.library.queensu.ca/index.php/IEE/article/view/5620>. Date accessed: 19 oct. 2017.
Keywords
missing tem; megaevolution; geological catastrophes; hierarchical selection; stoch-aptation; chance
Section
New Idea