Dynamics of Progressive Evolution

Transiency phenomena of organic world discovered by J-B Lamarck [5] and later developed by Ch. Darwin [3] has proved to be a supreme scientific achievement of outworld cognition. It enabled biologists turn to development of new evolutionism and to use this basis to reveal general laws of evolutionary process. As K.M. Zavadsky noted [4], from mid-to-late of XIX century development of biology adopted another pattern: biologists strenuously set to search for the so called transient states, which lead to evolvement of vulgar-evolutionary ideas considering development of organic world as a continuous chain of transformations [4]. Simultaneously, this ignored quite important indication of Ch. Darwin to peculiarity of evolutionary process: process of evolution is not continuous; it is more likely that each form remains unchanged for long periods, and later is subject to changes again [3].

In the mid-to-late XIX century complicated and contradictory situation in biology also existed (and still exists now) in understanding of what evolution impetus actually was. The most progressive scientists suggested the idea that main impetus of evolution is inherently behind all the living: these are laws inducing organisms to evolution in absolutely definite direction, i.e. in the one of continuous perfection [10]. However, biological community added quite arguable Darwins hypothesis to their armory stating that the impetus of evolutionary process is change of organisms living conditions [2]. Hence, actual equal sign was set between organic and non-organic phases of materia. The fact that the organic phase is a special state of materia constantly fighting with agonistic environment was not taken into account. Beginning from protozoons to highly organized forms of life, organisms constantly release not only nocifensors, but also develop new structures within themselves ensuring extraction of still more energy of the necessary resources using less inputs. Therefore, the Darwins hypothesis seems quite materialistic only at first sight. It does not suppose development of animate nature based on laws of nature, for it is underpinned by the statement about casual (indefinite) changes in organism, which allegedly shall lead to progress in the course of natural selection. However, it is difficult to imagine long-lasting (millions of years) synchronous transformation of an organism and environment. It is much more likely that in environment, especially terraneous, sooner or later changes will occur, and, as a result, the accommodated forms will simply be perished. Therefore, the professional biologists have somehow replaced the everything is God-inspired ecclesial dogma to everything is aleatory pseudoscientific concept. But in aleatory case only one conclusion may be drawn; there are no laws of nature whatever and, consequently, the world is incognizable. This means that actually the specified concept is against materialism stating that the world is cognizable. So, the specified concept is a latent form of idealism.

Nevertheless, despite complexity and inconsistency of the animate nature cognitive process, it is already in the mid-to-late XIX century that the biologic community managed to pay attention to two peculiarities of material organic phase development, that in our opinion are fundamental. First, according to Darwin, it is its intermittent (pulse) character; second, its tendency to progress [10]. In this context the progress idea needs clarification. It is assumed that the differentiating process of tissues and functions makes up the most important aspect of progressive evolution [1]. In our opinion the term differentiation shall be substituted to formation meaning emergence process of new tissues, more successful in performing any particular functions.

It is known that new tissues are formed as a result of combination of cells performing homogeneous function and, therefore, producing more energy [6, 8]. Hence, the progress term shall mean a process leading to emergence (formation) of new, more energetically effective tissues. Thus, it may be concluded that progressive evolution is a process of expansion of an organisms energy potential as a result of emergence of more energetically effective tissues. So, one of the main tasks of biology should have been study of the specified process dynamics in time.

Real opportunities for this, however, appeared at the turn of XX and XXI centuries thanks to the branches of knowledge studying evolution process at cell level, as well as accumulation of large amount of fossil material allowing considering this process in time.

It is known that cell is elementary living system [7] which can exist to a certain degree independently from environment due to bioshields and ability to generate energy within itself. The whole history of such a unique invention of nature goes under the sign of improvement of the above abilities.

The mechanism of increasing cell emanation of biological energy was revealed during experimental research performed in Scientific and Research Institute of Physical and Chemical Biology and RAS Cell Biology Institute of Saint Petersburg. As a result of this research, the fact of energetic cooperation among the cells performing homogeneous function and being in compact combination was established. During the research the phenomenon of extra importance was revealed, named leaders effect, when not arithmetic mean values but those inherent to the most active cells were maintained among energetic parameters of active and passive cells of such combinations [6]. Consequently, the energetic power of compact combinations of cells performing the same function becomes considerable compared to integral energy of the same but discrete cells. A question occurs: what is the dynamics of cell energy increments in time? It is known that evolutionary transformations are extremely slow. Therefore, to see this process and reveal its peculiarities is possible only using fossil materials of the groups with their fate possible to trace from the beginning to the end for many millions of years. Undoubtedly, the conclusions made by fossil materials may be treated just as indirect.

We have had a bash at using fossil material for the specified purposes. Such was a collection of ancient colonial corals of Cyrtophyllum genus we had collected from the deposits of Upper Ordovician system in Middle Siberia (north of Krasnoyarsk Territory). This group of corals existed for ~9 mln years (448-439 mln years ago). The material was sampled from 26 layers out of the bed of 96 m thick, which enabled to trace the whole history of the corals skeleton structure development and get the idea of dynamics of their evolution.

The detailed study of the earliest cyrtophillid corals showed that their ancestors were more primitive corals of Zihenaria genus existed in Middle Ordovician era. The latter were peculiar for the walls of their polygonal corallites apparently built of discrete skeleton-evolving cells: this explains their rather insignificant thickness. It is possible that at the end of Middle Ordovician era the specified cells got the ability to merge forming compact self-contained structures, the so called specialized cell complexes (SCC), with increased energetic power and productivity [8]. Due to this, re-construction of the whole colonial structure followed. Instead of polygonal form the corals became more subcircular, their cross section increased, and space appeared among them filled with special skeleton tissue, the so called coenenchyma, distinguished by a new coenosarc tissue. The latter performing only its own functions possibly was another source of energy [8]. Besides, in the colonies of the earliest cyrtophillid corals all stages of the SCC formation were retained [8]. It was established that in various colonies the number of SCC by the corallites perimeter and their parameters differed. Based on this observation it became possible to divide all early cyrtophillid corals into several groups; two groups maximally fully represented as of quantity were chosen. The characteristics of their SCC are shown in Table 1.

Since each SCC was actually a microgenerator of energy, it is possible to assume that big cross section area of the SCC means its big energetic power. If so, then based on the data in Table 1 the following conclusion may be drawn: the colonies of the second group of cyrtophillid corals initially had greater energetic potential, i.e. they were more perfect forms. Consideration of the specified groups in time showed that their development dynamics was different. The dynamics of this process is shown in Table 2.
Table 2 demonstrates that the SCC parameters and, consequently, the energy potential of the cyrtophillid colonies increased. This occurred spasmodically approximately in equal periods of time. The cyrtophillid of the first group - in ~1.8 mln years; the second group - in 1.4 mln years. As layer by layer study of cyrtophillid showed, the mean SCC area per one corallite did not change and, consequently, the value of energetic potential obviously also remained unchanged. Naturally, the morphology of colonial structure also did not change, which is to say, these were the periods of the cyrtophillid stable state. Apparently, changes of energy accompanied by morphological novelties in the colonies occurred in between the stabilization periods. As we calculated, these were short periods of time (by geological measures): from 100 to 200 thousand years when SCC actively grew, which lead to quick increase of energy potential of colonies. This fact confirms Darwins indication to pulse character of evolutionary process. Another notable thing is that at equal environmental conditions of cyrtophillid habitation of both groups, the growth rates of their energy potential turned out to be different (Table 2). This indicates that these rates depended only on internal abilities of colonial organism, namely, on initial value of energy potential (Tables 1, 2). Increase of energy power of the colonies induced by periodic increase of the SCC area, possibly, promoted appearance of new special tissue in zooids, and this tissue performed only digestive function which was shown earlier [8]. Formation of this tissue started ~445 mln years ago, and was fully formed 442 mln years ago at representative of the second group. As of cyrtophillid corals of the first group, this process came to an end 1 mln years after. These data are the confirmation of another important statement formulated by Ch. Darwin: higher organized forms develop quicker [3]. A new specialized tissue which appeared in zooids obviously promoted even more increase of energy potential of the colonial cyrtophillid organism, i.e. was one of the elements of their progressive evolution.


1. The foundation of progressive evolution is increase of energy potential of organism.
2. The energy potential increase process is of pulse nature.
3. Reveal of progressive evolution dynamics laws shall become one of the main tasks of biology.
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