Genetics, Paleontology, And Macroevolution by Jeffrey S. Levinton

By Jeffrey S. Levinton

This extended and up-to-date moment version deals a accomplished examine macroevolution and its underpinnings, with a first-rate emphasis on animal evolution. From a Neodarwinian standpoint, the e-book integrates evolutionary methods in any respect degrees to provide an explanation for the variety of animal existence. It examines quite a lot of issues together with genetics, speciation, improvement, evolution, constructional and practical points of shape, fossil lineages, and systematics, and --in an immense new chapter--takes a troublesome examine the Cambrian explosion. the writer delves into the age of molecular technological know-how and integrates very important fresh contributions made to our figuring out of evolution.

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Simpson rightfully sought to establish a unification of basic principles between paleontology and neontology. This is only an admission that paleontological and neontological research must both acknowledge the premise that evolutionary principles operate similarly for extinct and recent biotas, though the specific circumstances might of course be radically different. , Newell 1952). Paleontology had its own traditions that transcended the ability of Simpson or any other worker to alter significantly.

The tension between the followers of the Modern Synthesis and those of Goldschmidt’s heterodox views clearly gave macroevolution a bad name and it became associated with major saltations between ancestor and descendant species. Thus, Goldschmidt contributed little to the arguments of the day other than a sterile counterpoint to the Modern Synthesis. The German paleontological tradition also involved beliefs in heterodox notions such as orthogenesis and major saltations in evolution. Although Schindewolf’s (1936) saltationism continued a German morphological-paleontological tradition (see Reif 1983a), it failed to elicit a following among English-speaking paleontolo- 24 GENETICS, PALEONTOLOGY, AND MACROEVOLUTION gists and never led to a useful program of paleontological-evolutionary research in Germany.

Still others felt that the dichotomy between gradual and punctuative change obscured more than it clarified, because the pattern of morphological change does not uniquely imply a particular evolutionary process (summarized in Levinton 1983; Levinton and Simon 1980). , Williamson 1981) or gradualism (Gingerich 1976; Malmgren and Kennett 1981; Sheldon 1987). MACROEVOLUTION: THE PROBLEM AND THE FIELD 29 At the least, Eldredge and his colleagues generated a great deal of controversy and stimulated an examination of temporal change in the fossil record over smaller time scales.

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