By Steven Hecht Orzack, Elliott Sober

The idea of adaptationism argues that average choice comprises enough explanatory strength in itself to account for all evolution. in spite of the fact that, there are differing perspectives in regards to the potency, or optimality, of the difference version of rationalization. If the adaptationism conception is utilized, are power and assets getting used as optimally as attainable? Adaptationism and Optimality combines contributions from biologists and philosophers, and gives a scientific therapy of foundational, conceptual, and methodological concerns surrounding the idea of adaptationism.

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If both tests are passed, the character is inferred to have evolved via natural selection for the biological role; that is, the adaptive hypothesis is corroborated. If either test is failed, the adaptive hypothesis is refuted. This phylogenetic approach has been criticized because phylogenies can be difficult to reconstruct accurately (Reeve and Sherman 1993; Frumhoff and Reeve 1994). Even if we have a correct phylogeny, the use of parsimony to reconstruct ancestral states is fallible, especially if we make incorrect assumptions about the rate of character evolution (Frumhoff and Reeve 1994; for related discussion, see Maddison 1995; Schultz et al.

For example, the reconstruction on the left shows a shift in pollination type early and then selection rapidly leading to the evolution of red petals. In the second case, red petals went to fixation before the shift to bird pollination and, hence, their evolution did not involve selection for bird attraction. All other scenarios would be considered and would be summed to give the overall likelihood score. Because scenarios involving an early shift in selective regime can contribute a large amount of the overall likelihood under the adaptive hypothesis, Ladapt could be found to be significantly higher than Lalt even though the regime shift is traced to the same branch as the character’s origin.

Therefore, regardless of one’s favorite definition of adaptation, improved methods for inferring the historical action of natural selection may be welcome. Such methods are the subject of this chapter. 24 Phylogenetic Analysis of Adaptation PHYLOGENETIC APPROACHES TO THE STUDY OF ADAPTATION Among those who maintain that phylogeny bears on the study of adaptation, two distinct schools have emerged. Coddington (1994) dubbed them the “homology” and “convergence” approaches. The homology approach is characterized by a focus on a particular character in a particular lineage and the attempt to test hypotheses of adaptation using phylogenetic and functional information.

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