Does evolution evolve?
It must have done so.
process is a late comer since it is unlikely to have been
the main mechanism before the development of multicellular
organisms with separate specialised germline cells. It is a
zoology-orientated view of evolution. Zoological organisms
have existed for only about 20% of the duration of life on
inheritance via DNA cannot have occurred before the
evolution of DNA. Sexual selection and mixing mechanisms
cannot have evolved before the mechanisms for fusing,
dividing and recombining genomes.
The evolution of the
cell probably occurred before that of DNA, and certainly
before DNA organised into genomes.
In fact, the list of
stages is almost endless. The organisation of genomes,
particularly genomes with chromatin and enclosed in a
nucleus, must have occurred in many stages.
Not only does
evolution evolve, so does the context in which it happens
since it also changes the environment. New niches are
created by evolution which can then be the context for new
forms to evolve. It is an endless wondrously intricate web
of contexts, structures and mechanisms. It can’t be reduced
to a simple formula with one paradigmatic mechanism.
Laland, KN, Odling-Smee, J, Feldman, MW, Kendal, J. (2009) Conceptual Barriers to Progress Within Evolutionary Biology. Found Sci 14, 195-216 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3093243c
Odling-Smee, F. J., Erwin, D., Palkovacs, E. P., Feldman, M.
W., and Laland, K. N. (2013) Niche Construction Theory: a
practical guide for ecologists,
The Quarterly Review
of Biology 88,
In the 2009 debate
between Margulis and Dawkins, Dawkins challenges Margulis
with the simplicity of a single neo-darwinist mechanism:
“It's highly plausible, it's
economical, it's parsimonious, why on earth would you want
to drag in symbiogenesis when it's such an unparsimonious,
That’s it in a
nutshell. What is there, what exists, which is the starting
point of all science.
for the debate
An image from the series of three videos recording the 2009
debate on the Voices from Oxford website. Click on the image to access the videos.
|The MUSIC of Life: Biology Beyond the Genome ©Denis Noble