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Adaptive Morphology

Morphology is a fundamental means of adaptation in life forms. Shape determines function and behavior, from the molecular level, where the shape of a protein determines its enzymatic activity, to the organism level, where plants and animals adapt to specific niches by morphological changes, up to the collective level where organisms modify the environment to adapt it to their own needs.

In order to evolve adaptive physical structures we imitate nature by introducing a genetic coding that allows for both local modifications, with global effects (i.e. enlarging one component has only a local effect but may also result in shifting an entire subpart of the structure) and recombination, which spreads useful subparts of different sizes.

Even though the plasticity of life forms is far superior to a limited computer model such as ours, we are still able to see how the dynamic ``evolutionary game'' among a genetically-regulated family of organisms whose fitness comes from interaction with a complex environment, results in evolution of complexity and diversity leading to higher levels of organization.

Pablo Funes