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A reprint of a classical work in the Princeton Legacy Library. Originally published in 1992.
Through an integration of systematics, genetics, and related disciplines, the Modern Synthesis of Evolutionary Biology came into being over fifty years ago. Knowledge of evolution has since been transformed by several revolutions: the way we interpret the fossil record has been radically affected by theories of continental drift and asteroid impacts; the way we classify organisms has been influenced by the development of cladistics. Perhaps the most dramatic revolution has been the explosion in molecular biology of information about the genome. Aiming to capture the excitement of modern evolutionary biology, six prominent scientists here explore important issues and problems in their areas of specialization and identify the most promising directions of future research.
The scope of Molds, Molecules and Metazoa ranges from macroevolutionary patterns in the Precambrian to molecular evolution of the genome. Major themes include the origin and maintenance of variation and the causes of evolutionary change. Chapters on paleontology, ecology, behavior, development, and cell and molecular biology are contributed by Jim Valentine, Graham Bell, Mary Jane West Eberhard, Leo Buss, Marc Kirschner, and Marty Kreitman. Molds, Molecules and Metazoa contains an introductory chapter by John Bonner, whose seminal work is honored here.
List of Contributors
1 Evolution and the Rest of Biology 3
2 Lessons from the History of Life 17
3 Five Properties of Environments 33
4 Behavior and Evolution 57
5 The Middle Ground of Biology: Themes in the Evolution of Development 77
6 Evolution of the Cell 99
7 Will Molecular Biology Solve Evolution? 127
8 Overview: Variation and Change 151
"A richly textured tapestry that represents current trends in evolutionary biology. Rather than just taking a retrospective view of the evolutionary synthesis and the origins of evolutionary biology, the book takes a forward-looking view to chart the future course for evolutionary biology at six major 'growing points' of the discipline."
– Trends in Ecology and Evolution