Chapter

Evolutionary Biology as a Historical Science

Jonathan B. Losos

in Lizards in an Evolutionary Tree

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780520255913
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520943735 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520255913.003.0001
Evolutionary Biology as a Historical Science

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This chapter discusses the role of evolutionary biology as a historical science, and attempts to understand how and why evolutionary diversification has occurred. It is important to know what processes occurred in the past and how these they shaped the diversity we see today. Depending on the quality of the historical record, we can infer, with a greater or lesser degree of confidence, what happened. Historical analysis (either examination of fossils or phylogenetic inference) can investigate the evolutionary history of a group, or whether evolutionary diversification has occurred.

Keywords: evolutionary biology; historical science; evolutionary diversification; fossils; phylogenetic inference; evolutionary history

Chapter.  4550 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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