In a population whose members' genomes are subject to degradation by random mutations, the heritable vigour of the most common phenotypes is unquestionable (though not necessarily optimal), and that of fringe individuals is always suspect. Natural selection will therefore support the evolution of an affinity for modal mates (i.e. koinophilia). The population's genetic make-up can then not readily be invaded by non-cryptic mutations. This imposes considerable phenotypic conservatism on sexually reproducing creatures, and inexorably canalizes them into sexually isolated, phenotypically distinct species. The model predicts, and the empiric data confirms, that the phenotypic gaps between largely monomorphic sexual species do not characterize the taxonomy of longstanding apomicts, where variation below the genus level is often continuous. The bias against the propagation of all forms of phenotypic novelty and non-conformity stabilizes social animals against selfish mutants, thus removing the barriers to the evolution of "group adaptations".