Evolution

Adaptation and Natural Selection by George Christopher Williams

By George Christopher Williams

This is often my favourite publication at the subject, and in case you are studying this then you definately may still most likely get it.
It's no longer relatively as obtainable as Richard Dawkins' books, yet i locate this publication to be extra a extra entire and compelling learn than TSG or TBW.

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Various levels of adaptive organization, from the subcellular to the biospheric, might conceivably be recognized, but the principle of parsimony demands that we recognize adaptation at the level necessitated by the facts and no higher. It is my position that adaptation need almost never be recognized at any level above that of a pair of parents and associated offspring. As I hope to show in the later chapters, this conclusion seldom has to rest on appeals to parsimony alone, but is usually supported by specific evidence.

The foetus lives in an actively cooperative environment and has few ecological problems. It can concentrate on rapid and efficient morphogenetic preparations for later stages. The child or the man lives in a complex and frequently hostile environment. In these stages the emphasis is on precise sensory, motor, immunological, and other ecological adaptations. The morphogenetic preparations are much less fundamental in scope and much slower than those of the foetus. But suppose the human foetus lived, not in a pro44 NATURAL SELECTION, ADAPTATION & PROGRESS tective and solicitous uterus, but in an environment like that of a tadpole.

The possibility that populations can take special steps in response to the threat of imminent extinction 30 NATURAL SELECTION, ADAPTATION & PROGRESS is often implied in elementary biology texts in discussions of adaptive radiation or of the continued survival of ancient types. Certain species, we are told, were able to avoid extinction by seeking marginal habitats, thereby escaping competition from more progressive forms. The avoidance of extinction might well be a result of specialization for niches in which competition is minimal, but it cannot, historically, have been a cause of evolutionary change.

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