Abstract and Keywords
Evolution plays a central role in the design of all living things, producing a diversity of extraordinary adaptations. The details of evolutionary design can only be fully understood in a historical context, within the broader perspective it offers on how design solutions to recent specific environmental pressures are critically shaped by species' history — that is, by the requirement that they be integrated with the myriad pre-existing physical, physiological, and solutions of behaviour to other adaptive challenges that species' history entails. In short, organisms are a blend of adaptive potential and historical inertia; the degrees of freedom are not infinite and so what is evolutionarily possible over most timeframes depends critically on the starting conditions. This article outlines these frameworks and highlights broad conceptual weaknesses in them.
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