Full Title or Meme
The sudden process in the changing morphology of living entities in a natural ecosystem.
Evolution and Disruption are the ying and yang of the process of change in any ecosystem. In the General Theory of Living Systems the case is made that an identity ecosystem has all of the characteristics of living ecosystems.
Schumpeter first described creative destruction as an essential component of a financial ecosystem. If companies do not learn to cannibalize their own products, then some competitor will come along and do it to them. This is the way that a capitalist economy changes. So too with natural ecosystems. There are two types of disruptions that need to be considered which are distinguished by the event that sets them off:
- Disruption caused by evolutionary pressures within the ecosystem, called endogenous sources in the natural sciences, and
- Disruption caused by pressures exerted from outside the ecosystem, called exogenous sources in the natural sciences.
Brusatte has a couple of great examples in the two disruptions that resulted in the dinosaur morphogenesis into birds. Once dinosaurs developed feathers and a gracile morphology, evolution speeded up and birds rapid evolved from the new found capabilities. When the Chicxulub asteroid hit Mexico about 66 million years ago, a mass extinction event changed the ecosystem in ways that are unimaginable compared to what we call climate change today. Rapid evolution was again able to create a set of animals that thrived in the new ecosystem, but most of the old life forms did not survive and the ecosystem that resulted was wildly different than that before the extinction event.