spandrels of San Marco

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An analogy used, in a classic paper by Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin, to indicate how non-adaptive characters may arise in evolution. Spandrels are the spaces left between the tops of neighbouring arches in churches (in this case, St Mark's cathedral, Venice); these spaces, not related to the functional architecture, are free to be decorated in a non-functional fashion.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences — Earth Sciences and Geography.

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