Ever since Darwin, we have asked: Do predictable rules govern the evolutionary process? The question has attracted the attention of countless evolutionary biologists, paleontologists, and philosophers alike. As with so much of our evolutionary thinking, we go back to Darwin and the Origin of Species, and the ideologies of his “one long argument,” as a starting point. Darwin (1859, p. 477) was well aware that ecology is important in shaping the evolution of life—“the relation of organism to organism is the most important of all relations”—but, perhaps more importantly, he realized the consequences of such a view for...

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