Researchers have proposed a "missing" scientific law for the evolution of life, minerals, planets, stars and pretty much everything else in the universe.

This new law identifies "universal concepts of selection" that drive systems to evolve, whether they're living or not. It addresses the tendency for natural systems in the universe to become more complex over time.

The research team behind the law, which included philosophers, astrobiologists, a theoretical physicist, a mineralogist and a data scientist, have called it "the law of increasing functional information."

"This was a true collaboration between scientists and philosophers to address one of the most profound mysteries of the cosmos: why do complex systems, including life, evolve toward greater functional information over time?" study co-author Jonathan Lunine, a physical science professor at Cornell University, said in a statement.

Lunine and his colleagues described their new law in a study published Oct. 16 in the journal PNAS.

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