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Book review Rui Diogo. 2017. Evolution Driven by Organismal Behavior: A Unifying View of Life, Function, Form, Mismatches and Trends. Springer. 252 pages


Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R (2017). Book review Rui Diogo. 2017. Evolution Driven by Organismal Behavior: A Unifying View of Life, Function, Form, Mismatches and Trends. Springer. 252 pages. Swiss Journal of Palaeontology:n/a.

Abstract

‘Form is both plastic and robust’ (Diogo 2017, p. 165) Although most students of morphology and evolution would agree with the statement above, it represents a fundamental conundrum. As currently understood, explaining it requires a suite of concepts that is part of an expanded (or new) version of the neo-Darwinian synthesis of evolutionary biology (Laland et al. 2014; Wray et al. 2014). The phenotype has been typically seen by evolutionary biologists of the classical neo-Darwinian kind as genetically determined and invariant. It has now become accepted that the phenotype results within a reaction norm determined by a dynamical and reciprocal interaction between development and inheritance. This speaks against the notion of a ‘genetic programme’ that determines the phenotype, including form. The notion of nongenetic inheritance is not a case of hopeless ‘lamarckism’ but a reality. These ideas are at the core of Diogo’s book. We live in times of increasing specialization and that means that elaborations and critical synthesis of the subject above are rare. Rui Diogo has published a book that goes against the current in being truly large in scope but also single-authored. The goal the author has set out to achieve is remarkable. The subtitle reads ‘a unifying view of life, function, form mismatches, and trends’. The titles of the chapters already show that the author is not shy about what he sets to accomplish.

Abstract

‘Form is both plastic and robust’ (Diogo 2017, p. 165) Although most students of morphology and evolution would agree with the statement above, it represents a fundamental conundrum. As currently understood, explaining it requires a suite of concepts that is part of an expanded (or new) version of the neo-Darwinian synthesis of evolutionary biology (Laland et al. 2014; Wray et al. 2014). The phenotype has been typically seen by evolutionary biologists of the classical neo-Darwinian kind as genetically determined and invariant. It has now become accepted that the phenotype results within a reaction norm determined by a dynamical and reciprocal interaction between development and inheritance. This speaks against the notion of a ‘genetic programme’ that determines the phenotype, including form. The notion of nongenetic inheritance is not a case of hopeless ‘lamarckism’ but a reality. These ideas are at the core of Diogo’s book. We live in times of increasing specialization and that means that elaborations and critical synthesis of the subject above are rare. Rui Diogo has published a book that goes against the current in being truly large in scope but also single-authored. The goal the author has set out to achieve is remarkable. The subtitle reads ‘a unifying view of life, function, form mismatches, and trends’. The titles of the chapters already show that the author is not shy about what he sets to accomplish.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, not refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Paleontological Institute and Museum
Dewey Decimal Classification:560 Fossils & prehistoric life
Language:English
Date:28 July 2017
Deposited On:01 Feb 2018 12:23
Last Modified:19 Feb 2018 08:44
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1664-2376
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s13358-017-0139-4
Related URLs:https://link.springer.com/journal/13358

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