Evolutionary Transitions in Individuality and Life Cycle Closure

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We propose a novel account of evolutionary transitions in individuality as life cycle closure: that is, the emergence of a new embedding life cycle. To characterize this process, we show how the life trajectory of lower-level entities (e.g., cells) can be coarse-grained into classes of a higher-level entity. We argue that only higher-level entities displaying two necessary conditions for the existence of a life cycle (e.g., multicellular organisms) have achieved life cycle closure. Throughout, we illustrate our point with stage-structured demographic models that yield a rigorous characterization of the conditions for life cycle closure.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhilosophy of Science
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Dec 2023


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