Theoretical Evolution uses mathematics and computers to understand evolution. Organisms and ecosystems are so complex, and evolution occurs over such long timescales, that it has only recently become possible to analyze and simulate the processes that lead to extinctions and new species.
We combine information from fossils, living organisms, ecosystems, and genetics to build mathematical and computer models that can make predictions and test theories about how evolution occurs.
We ask when and why certain structures evolved. For example, brains are complex, fragile and metabolically very expensive. Animals with brains suddenly evolved about 545 million years ago, from organisms that had previously thrived for billions of years with no brains. What were they thinking?