Of prime importance in evolutionary biology are the description of pattern and explanations of process. Frequently, however, multiple processes can explain a given pattern. Such cases require experimental protocols or research criteria to distinguish among alternatives so pattern can be critically assigned to process. Noteworthy examples of this approach include evaluating adaptations and identifying character displacement (Gould and Lewontin 1979; Schluter and McPhail 1992). The field of vertebrate sex determination similarly requires such criteria.
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