The metaphor of the adaptive landscape – that evolution via the process of natural selection can be visualized as a journey across adaptive hills and valleys, mountains and ravines – permeates both evolutionary biology and the philosophy of science. The focus of this 2007 book is to demonstrate to the reader that the adaptive landscape concept can be put into actual analytical practice through the usage of theoretical morphospaces – geometric spaces of both existent and non-existent biological form – and to demonstrate the power of the adaptive landscape concept in understanding the process of evolution. The adaptive landscape concept further allows us to take a spatial approach to the concepts of natural selection, evolutionary constraint and evolutionary development. For that reason, this book relies heavily on spatial graphics to convey the concepts developed within these pages, and less so on formal mathematics.
1. The concept of the adaptive landscape
2. Modelling natural selection in adaptive landscapes
3. Modelling evolutionary phenomena in adaptive landscapes
4. The concept of the theoretical morphospace
5. Analysing the role of adaptive evolution in theoretical morphospaces
6. Analysing evolutionary phenomena in theoretical morphospaces
7. Evolutionary constraint in theoretical morphospace
8. Evolutionary development in theoretical morphospace
9. There is much to be done …
George McGheeis Professor of Paleobiology in the Department of Geological Sciences at Rutgers University, New Jersey. He is a past Fellow of the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research in Vienna, Austria.
"Theoretical morphology needs to become mainstream and find its purpose ... This book has established an extremely solid foundation ..."
- American Journal of Human Biology