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New York Times: Gaming Evolves

New York Times writes: "By day, Thomas Near studies the evolution of fish, wading through streams in Kentucky and Mississippi in search of new species. By night, Dr. Near, an assistant professor at Yale, is a heavy-duty gamer, steering tanks or playing football on his computer. This afternoon his two lives have come together.

The game begins with single-cell microbes and follows them through their evolution into intelligent multicellular creatures, like the Tiktaalik.

On his laptop swims a strange fishlike creature, with a jaw that snaps sideways and skin the color of green sea glass. As Dr. Near taps the keyboard, it wiggles and twists its way through a busy virtual ocean. It tries to eat other creatures and turns its quills toward predators that would make it a meal.

The chairman of Dr. Near's department, Richard Prum, watches him play and worries about his reckless lunges."

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