Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Robert A. Meyers

Development, Evolution, and the Emergence of Novel Behavior

  • Amy K. Gardiner
  • David F. Bjorklund
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27737-5_121-3

Definition of the Subject

Ontogeny, or individual development, results from the bidirectional interactions of genes and environment. It is this interaction that allows inherited traits to become expressed in the phenotypes of adult organisms. While each individual will develop along its own unique trajectory, most members of a species are very much the same because they all inherit a species-typical genotype and a species-typical environment. When this environment changes, individuals must adopt or they will fail to survive. Individuals with enough plasticity to respond to new environments by developing novel phenotypes will be more likely to survive than those without such resilience. In this way, developmental change can have substantial impact on evolution by providing the grist upon which natural selection acts. Successful developmental systems will be selected and inherited, and evolution may thus be seen as a series of ontogenies.


There has been a resurgence of...


Developmental System Niche Construction Developmental Plasticity Epigenetic Inheritance Foster Mother 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Florida Atlantic UniversityBoca RatonUSA