Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Aaron Clauset

Second Advisor

Andrew Martin

Third Advisor

Tom Yeh


How have we arrived at the diverse set of complex species that we currently find in our world? Using statistical simulations of evolutionary processes, this study investigates how the fundamental minimum sizes of species increase irreversibly over time, and how complexities evolved along the way compound throughout that process. Our results imply that unless a random mutation opens up a new dimension of nichespace for the clade to expand within, the mutation will eventually become extinct due to inherent genetic drift.