By George McGhee
Charles Darwin famously concluded at the foundation of Species with a imaginative and prescient of "endless varieties most lovely" continuously evolving. greater than a hundred and fifty years later many evolutionary biologists see no longer never-ending kinds however the comparable, or very comparable, kinds evolving many times in lots of autonomous species lineages. A porpoise's fishlike fins, for instance, aren't inherited from fish ancestors yet are independently derived convergent features. during this e-book, George McGhee describes the ubiquity of the phenomenon of convergent evolution and connects it on to the idea that of evolutionary constraint--the concept that the variety of evolutionary pathways to be had to lifestyles usually are not never-ending, yet rather constrained. Convergent evolution happens on all degrees, from tiny natural molecules to complete ecosystems of species. McGhee demonstrates its ubiquity in animals, either herbivore and carnivore; in crops; in ecosystems; in molecules, together with DNA, proteins, and enzymes; or even in minds, describing problem-solving habit and crew habit because the items of convergence. for every species instance, he offers an abbreviated record of the key nodes in its phylogenetic type, permitting the reader to work out the evolutionary courting of a bunch of species that experience independently developed an analogous trait by means of convergent evolution. McGhee analyzes the function of practical and developmental constraints in generating convergent evolution, and considers the medical and philosophical implications of convergent evolution for the predictability of the evolutionary approach.
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Additional info for Convergent Evolution: Limited Forms Most Beautiful (Vienna Series in Theoretical Biology)
Rather than flattening and flaring the ribs in the midsection of the body, the entire snake is flattened like a ribbon, and it flares its ribs laterally outward as it glides through the air. Both groups of animals—the mammals and the reptiles—have convergently evolved glider morphologies with expanded surface-area structures. 2). Apparently no reptiles ever evolved skin-membrane gliding morphologies, and no mammals ever evolved glider bodies with flattened, flared rib cages. The two groups of animals appear to be developmentally constrained to a particular convergent form for each group.
For example, the African electric catfish is a voracious nocturnal predator, but in contrast to most nocturnal predators, it has very small eyes (even smaller than those of diurnal fishes). Instead of using visual detection to hunt its prey, it uses electrosensory detection. Water is an excellent conductor of electricity, and seven groups of fishes have independently evolved the capability to detect an electric field in water. 5). The duckbill platypus is a semiaquatic predator capable of hunting in total darkness under water (Gregory et al.
1997). These amphibians are not alone, as the amphisbaenid Florida worm lizard is also identical in overall appearance to an earthworm, even to its pinkish-purple color, yet it is a lepidosaurian reptile. Lee and Shine (1998) have demonstrated that the amphisbaenid worm lizards are more closely related to gekko lizards than to the snakes. But other groups of lizards have evolved snakelike penetrator morphologies, like the ancient amphibian aistopods. These modern reptiles include the California legless lizard of western North America, the legless glass lizards of eastern North America, the pygopodid legless lizards of Australia, and the recently discovered gymnophthalmid legless lizard Bachia oxyrhinus of Brazil, South America.