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GLOSSARY
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Cambrian Era

A period some 540 million years ago when a burst of complex, segmented multicellular life took place.

Catalyst

A chemical substance or geometrically intricate surface able to accelerate a reaction without being changed itself.

Catalyst

A chemical substance or surface able to accelerate a reaction without being changed itself.

Cenozoic Era

The most recent paleontological period from 65 mya to the present.

Cerebral Cortex

The outer layer of the bilateral hemispheres composed of grey matter concerned with coordination of higher central nervous system function.

Cerebrum

The enlarged anterior or upper part of the vertebrate brain consisting of the lateral hemispheres.

Chaos

Complex behavior now found to be characterized by predictable periodic domains along with much sensitivity to initial or external conditions.

Chloroplasts

Membrane bounded structures inside plants which contain chlorophyll for photosynthesis.

Cladistics

A method of classifying organism into groups (taxa) based on recency of common descent as judged by the possession of shared, derived characteristics. Variously known as Systematics.

Closed System

An isolated system that cannot exchange matter and energy with its surroundings.

Coevolution

An evolutionary pattern based on the interaction between flora and fauna within an environment, such as flower and pollinator.

Complementarity

Originally from quantum physics to designate the particle/wave nature of light, it can apply to any macroscopic complex system composed of discrete elements and relational connections.

Complex Adaptive System

A generic term to represent the communicative interaction of many free agents, guided by common protocols, from which emerges a nested scale of whole entities.

Connectionism

Another term for parallel distributed processing in the brain made up of many links between functional neurons or elements in a cerebral or artifactual circuit.

Convergence

In evolution, a process where features such as eyes or intelligence consistently appear in independent lineages and different environmental conditions.

Cosmological constant

Originally, an extra term in Einstein's equations of general relativity which physically represents the possibility that there is a density and pressure associated with "empty" space, which gave it a tendency to expand. Lately it refers to the cosmic expansion produced by dark energy. Google this term for more discussion.