Chapter

How to Talk about Macroevolution

John O. Reiss

in Not by Design

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780520258938
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944404 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520258938.003.0011
How to Talk about Macroevolution

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This chapter addresses how we can talk about macroevolution without lapsing into teleology, and shows that the principle of the conditions for existence can play a key role here, first discussing how natural selection enters into explanations of macroevolutionary changes. It then looks at a simple example of macroevolution—evolution of bird flight—and considers the question of how the process of evolutionary adaptation should be represented. In particular, the chapter addresses how the role of narrow sense natural selection and of the conditions for existence in this process should be represented.

Keywords: macroevolution; teleology; conditions for existence; natural selection; bird flight; evolutionary adaptation

Chapter.  15148 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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