By Simon Conway Morris
A best evolutionary biologist on the college of Cambridge, Conway Morris got here into overseas prominence for his paintings at the Cambrian explosion (especially fossils of the Burgess Shale) and evolutionary convergence, that is the method wherein organisms now not heavily similar (not monophyletic), independently evolve comparable features due to having to evolve to related environments or ecological niches.
In The Runes of Evolution, he illustrates how the ubiquity of convergence tricks at an underlying framework wherein many results, no longer least brains and intelligence, are almost assured on any Earth-like planet. Conway Morris additionally emphasizes how a lot of the complexity of complex organic platforms is inherent in microbial forms.
By casting a much wider web, The Runes of Evolution explores many ignored evolutionary questions. a few are remarkably common. Why, for instance, are convergences resembling parasitism, carnivory, and nitrogen fixation in vegetation centred particularly taxonomic sizzling spots? Why do yes teams have a selected propensity to adapt towards specific states?
Some questions result in unforeseen evolutionary insights: If bees sleep (as they do), do they dream? Why is that insect copulating with an orchid? Why have sponges advanced a procedure of fiber optics? What do mantis shrimps and submarines have in universal? If dinosaurs had now not long gone extinct what may have occurred subsequent? Will a saber-toothed cat ever re-evolve?
Cona Morris observes: “Even among the mammals, not to mention the total tree of lifestyles, people characterize one minute twig of an unlimited (and mostly fossilized) arborescence. each residing species is a linear descendant of a major string of now-vanished ancestors, yet evolution itself is the very opposite of linear. really it really is perpetually exploratory, probing the immense areas of organic hyperspace. certainly this ebook is a party of the way our international is (and was once) populated via a rebellion of kinds, a coruscating tapestry of life.”
The Runes of Evolution is the main definitive synthesis of evolutionary convergence to be released to date.
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Extra resources for The Runes of Evolution: How the Universe became Self-Aware
The Runes of Evolution: How the Universe became Self-Aware by Simon Conway Morris