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The pursuit of “structure” which has so defined recent philosophical research into the physical sciences and the question of scientific realism has largely spared the life sciences. This, we argue, is a mistake. While it may not be the case that evolutionary biology is as straightforwardly or essentially structural as, for example, has been claimed of quantum field theory, we claim that the concept of the economy of nature, as deployed by Linnaeus and Darwin, is a clear invocation of structure in theories of the organic world. Further, changes in what occupies this structural role – from the development and abandonment of the economy of nature (EoN), through the rise of genetics in the Modern Synthesis – offer a perspicuous and heretofore unexplored window on the study of biological theory change.