Date of Award

Spring 6-6-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Aaron Clauset

Second Advisor

Andrew Martin

Third Advisor

Tom Yeh

Abstract

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.

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