The Evolution of Adaptive Systems

The Evolution of Adaptive Systems

The General Theory of Evolution

1st Edition - June 14, 2000

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  • Author: James Brock
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080542461

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The data of evolutionary biology have changed in a very radical way in recent years, the most significant input to this revolution being the advances made in developmental genetics. Another recent development is a noticeable shift away from extreme specialization in evolutionary biology. In this, we are perhaps to be reminded of George Gaylord Simpson's comments: "evolution is an incredibly complex but at the same time integrated and unitary process." The main objective of this book is to illustrate how natural adaptive systems evolve as a unity--with the particular objective of identifying and merging several special theories of evolution within the framework of a single general theory. The Evolution of Adaptive Systems provides an interdisciplinary overview of the general theory of evolution from the standpoint of the dynamic behavior of natural adaptive systems. The approach leads to a radically new fusion of the diverse disciplines of evolutionary biology, serving to resolve the considerable degree of conflict existing between different schools of contemporary thought.

Key Features

  • The book is a timely volume written by a natural historian with a broad view of biology
  • The author draws examples from a large range of organisms from many different habitats and niches where interesting adaptations have evolved
  • Probes deeply into mechanisms of evolution such as developmental genetics, morphogenesis, chromosome structure, and cladogenesis
  • Clear definition of terms, with illustrations visualizing the main theoretical structures, and point-by-point summaries clearly stating the principal conclusions


Scientists in the fields of evolutionary biology, zoology, botany, ecology, genetics, and development

Table of Contents

  • Foreword.
    Adaptation and the Adaptive System.
    Spatial Structure of the Adaptive Niche.
    Dynamics of the Adaptive Niche.
    The Selection Interface.
    Adaptive Equilibrium.
    The Cladogenetic Selection Interface.
    Adaptive Potential, Biophysical Paradigms, and the Selectional Attractor.
    Evolutionary Mode.
    Structural Paradigms of Development.
    Adaptive Capacity and Potential in the Mechanisms of Development.
    Developmental Genetics, Adaptive Capacity, and Potential.
    Mutation and Realization of Adaptive Potential.
    Chromosome Structure and Adaptive Topography.
    Evolutionary Impediments and the Adaptive Substrate for Evolutionary Change.
    Darwinian versus Thompsonian Factors in Evolution.
    The Morphogenetic Topology of Evolutionary Change.
    Architecture of the Phyletic Lineage.
    Evolutionary Rate and Episodic Evolution.
    Stasis and the Adaptive Substrate.
    Extinction - Lineage to Clade.
    From Lineage to Taxon.
    Epilogue: An Overview of the General Theory.

Product details

  • No. of pages: 642
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2000
  • Published: June 14, 2000
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080542461

About the Author

James Brock

Dr. James P. Brock is presently Keeper of Natural History at the Horniman Museum in London. A Fellow of both the Linnean Society of London and the Zoological Society of London, he developed his primary research interest, evolutionary theory, with a Ph.D. from Imperial College, after earlier posts working at the University Museums of Glasgow and Oxford where he explored related interests in insect taxonomy before expanding into the theory and practice of phylogenetics.Dr. Brock has published a number of seminal papers and book contributions, and continues to pursue long term interests in evolutionary theory - evolution in higher groups in Lepidoptera Ditrysia, and taxonomy of parasitic wasps, among others.

Affiliations and Expertise

Horniman Museum and Gardens, London, U.K.

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