Mathematical Chaos and Evolution

With Darwin’s Natural Selection being the most renowned and taught evolutionary theory, are we limiting our perspective on evolutionary mechanisms and progression?

A double rod pendulum animation showing chaotic behaviour. Starting the pendulum from a slightly different initial condition would end in a completely different outcome.

Chaos theory studies the behaviour of dynamic (yet deterministic) systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions—a response often referred to as the butterfly effect. Mathematically speaking, Chaos Theory could provide an insight in to this progression due to species populations and allele frequency being chaotic in discrete circumstances.  Therefore minute alterations in initial conditions will result in drastically contrasting outcomes.

Before reading the linked article consider that  biological systems express the following properties of chaotic systems:

  1. ‘It must be sensitive to initial conditions’
  2. ‘lt must be topologically mixing’ (There is a continuous combination of factors/conditions)
  3. ‘It must have dense periodical orbitals’ (There are repeated cycles and patterns over time)


“We can do science, and with it, we can improve our lives…” Carl Sagan


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