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The user can vary the strength of the selection pressure, a predator, pathogen, or pollution for example, which is how change in the environment is simulated. Mutation rates can also be varied. The interaction of these two variables gives rise to adaptations, thus evolution. However, the same two variables also explain extinctions when random mutations produce traits which decrease, rather than increase fitness and/or when environmental change is so severe, a large proportion of a species is killed off in a few generations, not leaving enough individuals to repopulate before other species' outcompete the now rare species.
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