One can argue that the critical factors in evolution are competitive interaction, dispersal, and survival in that they determine the life and death of individuals and thus govern gene flow and the waxing and waning of populations; the byproduct of this cascade happens to be the origination and extinction of species and phylogenetic lineages. Perhaps evolutionary “truth” can be found only in petri dish experiments of lichens competing for space, through documentation of the wildly successful ecological invasion of purple loosestrife in ditches of northeastern North America, or by molecular phylogeographic analyses of the distribution of fruit fly lineages across...

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