Evolution and non-equilibrium physics: A study of the Tangled Nature Model

Nikolaj Becker, Paolo Sibani

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


We argue that the stochastic dynamics of interacting agents which replicate, mutate and die constitutes a non-equilibrium physical process akin to aging in complex materials. Specifically, our study uses extensive computer simulations of the Tangled Nature Model (TNM) of biological evolution to show that punctuated equilibria successively generated by the model's dynamics have increasing entropy and are separated by increasing entropic barriers. We further show that these states are organized in a hierarchy and that limiting the values of possible interactions to a finite interval leads to stationary fluctuations within a component of the latter. A coarse-grained description based on the temporal statistics of quakes, the events leading from one component of the hierarchy to the next, accounts for the logarithmic growth of the population and the decaying rate of change of macroscopic variables. Finally, we question the role of fitness in large-scale evolution models and speculate on the possible evolutionary role of rejuvenation and memory effects. Copyright (C) EPLA, 2014
Original languageEnglish
Article number18005
Issue number1
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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