Journal Article

Comparing the respective transmutation mechanisms of Patrick Matthew, Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace

Joachim L Dagg

in Biological Journal of the Linnean Society

Published on behalf of The Linnean Society of London

Volume 123, issue 4, pages 864-878
Published in print March 2018 | ISSN: 0024-4066
Published online February 2018 | e-ISSN: 1095-8312 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/biolinnean/bly003
Comparing the respective transmutation mechanisms of Patrick Matthew, Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace

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Abstract

A comparison of the evolutionary mechanisms of Patrick Matthew, Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace highlights their differences. In Matthew’s scheme, catastrophes initiate periods of radiation and speciation until a fully stocked environment enters into stasis. Catastrophes first need to exterminate competing species before the survivors can radiate into free niches and diversify into new species. In Darwin’s early theory, conditions of life, such as those prevailing under domestication, first need to increase the variability of a species before natural selection can transform it. In Darwin’s mature theory, competition replaces conditions as the main drive behind evolutionary change, and sympatric speciation becomes possible. Wallace’s theory differs from both Matthew’s and Darwin’s. Interspecific competition is not a brake halting transmutation (as in Matthew’s theory) nor is intraspecific competition a sufficient drive for it. Although each theory integrated natural selection with variability, competition and changed conditions in distinct ways, each allowed for species transmutation somehow. The result was similar (transmutation), but the mechanisms yielding that result (the integration of natural selection with variability, competition and change in conditions) differed significantly.

Keywords: evolutionary mechanism; natural selection; principle of divergence; role of competition; role of environmental conditions; species transformation

Journal Article.  11189 words. 

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology ; Natural History ; Zoology and Animal Sciences

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