Books and Ideasis back with an interview of Jonathan Losos, author of Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution. This fascinating book reveals the surprising world of experimental evolutionary biology. We explore how experiments both in the laboratory and in the wild are answering long-standing questions about how evolution works.
Ever since Darwin it has been assumed that evolution works extremely slowly, too slowly to be tested experimentally. However, observations in the wild have shown that when environmental conditions change evolution can occur more rapidly than expected. This lead scientists to design fascinating experiments to test another major question: Is evolution predictable or totally random? Was Stephen Jay Gould right when he concluded that if the tape of of life on earth was replayed, the results would be totally different?
Links and References
Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution by Jonathan B. Losos
Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History by Stephen Jay Gould
Z.D. Blount, Lenski, R.E., and Losos, JB. 2018. "Contingency and determinism in evolution: Replaying life’s tape" Science362. DOI: 10.1126/science.aam5979
Brian Swetik. 2019. "Strange Marine Creature Resembles a Reptilian Platypus: Small eyes and decorative plates make this Triassic creature stand out" Scientific American, January 30.
L Chen, et. Al. 2019. "Early Triassic marine reptile representing the oldest record of unusually small eyes in reptiles indicating non-visual prey detection." Nature 152.
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