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As others have noted, sometimes the burden of evolved characteristics like eyes or limbs, do not give a survival advantage. For instance in a low visibility environment, the extra biological burden of having eyes confers no survival advantage and therefore is selected against. Or in an aquatic environment, arms and legs create drag to movement and therefore a creature without them (aquatic mammals) survives better than one with.
originally posted by: Astyanax
a reply to: chr0naut
Since there is no preference towards the gaining or loosing of a trait, should they not arise with similar frequency?
Are the biochemical processes involved in losing a trait the same as or similar those involved in acquiring one? Do the elements of these processes have a comparable likelihood of occurring? Are the resulting organisms viable? Are they comparable in their viability to their progenitors? Is their selective fitness comparable? All these questions need to be answered in the affirmative before the discussion becomes worth having. What information do you have on them?
Also, how would you know if any particular species had not successively gained and lost multiple traits in the process of adaption to a dynamic environment.
If we can't tell, what is the point of this discussion? It's totally hypothetical, without reliable evidence to support any conclusion.
I have not done an audit of all life on Earth but the little bit I do know shows what I believe is a clear disparity between the loss of traits and the gaining of them. You can't argue with the numbers.
So, although we cannot reliably deduce, from living specimens, genetics or the fossil record, whether losses of 'complexity' (what's complexity?) are more or less frequent than increases, you've decided to assume that the 'numbers' support your -- what did you call it -- 'pet theory'? Breathtaking.