Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The power of Google and Wikipedia

I recalled that an evolutionary biologist of some sort had once used an exotic word from architecture to describe something in biology. What was the word?

I cheated. My wife remembered Stephen Jay Gould's name, but nothing about the term -- though I'd have found his name easily enough on Google.

A Google search on him suggested Wikipedia. Wikipedia had the term:
Stephen Jay Gould - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

...use of the architectural word 'spandrel' in an evolutionary context, using it to mean a feature of an organism that exists as a necessary consequence of other features and not built piece by piece by natural selection...
Of course it's easy to then research spandrel. This must all seem mundane to young-uns, but it's still miraculous to me.

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