Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (4):507-508 (2002)
One important difference between adaptive and nonadaptive explanations can be found in the evolutionary sequence of structural and functional modifications. Phylogenetic analysis (cladistics) provides a powerful methodology for distinguishing exaptation from adaptation, by indicating whether character traits have predated, accompanied, or followed evolution of particular functions. Such analysis yields falsifiable hypotheses that can help to distinguish causal relationships from mere correlation.
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