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  Emergence, in the life sciences, is the doctrine that a complex of species or structure can arise as part of evolution without being predictable from preceding conditions. The idea arose because of the contradiction between the predicted course of evolution and the picture presented by the actual fossil record. Essentially, evolution is not a smooth progression from less to more highly adapted, but is punctuated by huge leaps in complexity, such as the appearance of nucleated cells. Although it is very unlikely that such events could have occurred by the conventional mechanisms of variation and natural selection, it is frequently assumed that they must have done so. It is also possible that the fossil record is incomplete, though this seems unlikely due to accurate radioisotopic dating techniques now available. The subject of emergence is recurrent in 20th-century scientific philosophy where it is conceptually linked to organistic thinking as a result of the perceived levels of organization it produces in evolution, but has had little impact on the doctrines of Neo-Darwinism. RB  



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Other Terms : Ethnopsychiatry | Myth | Unified Field Theory
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