The name of the ancient Greek goddess Gaia is used to denote the hypothetical superorganism consisting of the entire biosphere of the planet Earth. As the presence of various homeostatic mechanisms is typical for organisms, maintaining their individual body parameters (temperature, chemical composition, etc.) within the physiological boundaries required for the life of the organism, similarly, in the biosphere of the Earth, we can find a great many regulation mechanisms maintaining various physical and chemical conditions predominating on the Earth within boundaries compatible with survival of the individual species. It is only thanks to the activities of living organisms that, for example, the temperature of the surface of the Earth remains constant over long periods of time, regardless of the fact that the amount of light from the sun and thus the input of energy has increased substantially over the past 4 billion years. Similarly, the activities of organisms regulate the level of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In the absence of life, the conditions on Earth would have become similar to those on Mars long ago. The activities of organisms are greatly affected and frequently even directly determined by the individual geological processes occurring in the Earth’s crust, from the processes of weathering to possibly as far as the movements of the continents caused by continental drift.

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The classical Darwinian theory of evolution can explain the evolution of adaptive traits only in asexual organisms. The frozen plasticity theory is much more general: It can also explain the origin and evolution of adaptive traits in both asexual and sexual organisms Read more