Evolutionary mechanisms have always been one of the most popular chapters of Alife. This work adopts an evolutionary perspective and proposes an original algorithm for the construction of genealogical trees of scientific papers on the basis of their citation count evolution in time. The fitness of a paper now amounts to its in-degree growing trend and a “dying” paper will suddenly see this trend declining in time. It will give birth and be taken over by some of its most prevalent citing “offspring”. Practically, this might be used to trace the successive published milestones of a research field. Based on two landmark publications of Alife, we will show of this field has evolved towards more realistic physicochemical simulations and how complex networks, sharing with Alife its multidisplinarity and software grounding, have robbed us the popularity.

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