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Few concepts are as integral to science, as parsimony. The idea is largely encapsulated by Ockham's Razor, in other words, all things being equal the simplest explanation invoking the least ad hoc hypotheses will tend to be the correct one. The "hard" sciences in particular hinge upon the validity of this axiom, and it is thus only natural that the biological sciences should do the same. The great physicist and popularizer of science, Richard Feynman, once argued that parsimony was part of the very definition of science.
For a discussion of one opinion of its role in biological science, particularly phylogenetic reconstruction, see Parsimony and its role in Phylogenetic Reconstruction.