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Extra resources for Time and Stratigraphy in the Evolution of Man (Symposium)

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The next generation is formed in a stochastic, or probabilistic, fashion from the success or failure of many such lives. We may be able to predict its average properties with some assurance, but its composition will fluctuate to a greater or lesser extent through time in ways that we cannot predict or account for. If it were possible to distinguish two variants which were in all other respects functionally equivalent, and which in all circumstances had equal fitness, then neither would tend to change in frequency under selection; but they would nevertheless fluctuate in frequency from generation to generation through sampling error.

14 Self-replicating algorithms evolve in computers Among the most illuminating and certainly the most bizarre of self-replicators are the digital 17 organisms invented by Ray (1991). They are algorithms: strings of instructions written in the machine-code language of a computer. The basic algorithm, a list of 80 instructions, is designed to replicate itself—to place a copy of the same set of instructions into the memory of the computer. The process of replication is deliberately made somewhat imprecise, so that instructions are occasionally modified slightly as they are being copied.

Their most important implication is that evolutionary processes will be different in bacteria (U

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Time and Stratigraphy in the Evolution of Man (Symposium) by National Academy of Sciences


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