Books > Science & Mathematics > Biology, life sciences > Life sciences: general issues > Ecological science, the Biosphere
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High Quality Content by WIKIPEDIA articles Homeorhesis, derived
from the Greek for "similar flow," is a concept encompassing
dynamical systems which return to a trajectory, as opposed to
systems which return to a particular state, which is termed
homeostasis.The word itself is a little-used term of art in
biology, where it describes the tendency of developing or changing
organisms to continue development or change towards a given state,
even if disturbed in development. The term was first coined by C.H.
Waddington, on or before 1940, along with the related term chreod,
meaning "necessary path," which is the trajectory to which the
system tends to return.In ecology the concept is important as an
element of the Gaia theory, where the system under consideration is
the ecological balance of different forms of life on the planet. It
was Lynn Margulis, the coauthor of Gaia hypotheses, who wrote in
particular that only homeorhetic and not homeostatic balances are
involved in the theory. That is, the composition of Earth's
atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere are regulated around "set
points" as in homeostasis, but those set points change with time.
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