Neutral Models in Biology

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Neutral models are constructed to help scientists understand complex patterns of form, structure, or behavior that may not be observed directly. In this unique volume, eight distinguished scientists present a comprehensive study of the use of neutral models in testing biological theories. They describe the principles of model testing and explore how they are applied to research in molecular biology, genetics, ecology, evolution, and paleontology. In addition to the editors, the contributors include Stephen Stigler, David Raup, Paul Harvey, L.B. Slobodkin, Stuart Kauffman, William Wimsatt, and James Crow.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"'Neutral' or 'null' models have convulsed several areas of evolutionary ecology in the last decade and generated debate so caustic that it has been reported in the lay press. Surprisingly, though particular areas have been examined, there has been no general review. This volume fills the void. . . .well written and nontechnical, and the book is engaging. . . .thoughtful and provocative." —American Scientist

"The book does contain a great diversity of expertise and viewpoints, from population geneticist to philosopher to ecologist, paleontologist and statistician, and from adherents to the benefits of neutral models to committed sceptics. . . .an important book." —Cladistics

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195050998
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/28/1987
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago

Institute of Paleobiology, Polish Academy of Science, Warsaw

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Neutral Models as a Biological Strategy, Matthew H. Nitecki and Antoni Hoffman
PART I: Molecular and Genetic Models
1. Neutral Models in Molecular Evolution, James F. Crow, University of Wisconsin
2. False Models as Means to Truer Theories, William C. Wimsatt, University of Chicago
3. Self Organization, Selective Adaptation, and Its Limits: A New Pattern of Inference in Evolution and Development, Stuart A. Kauffman, University of Pennsylvania
PART II: Ecological Models
4. How to be Objective in Community Studies, L.B. Slobodkin, State University of New York at Stony Brook
5. On the Use of Null Hypotheses in Biogeography, Paul H. Harvey, University of Oxford
PART III: Paleontological Models
6. Neutral Models in Paleobiology, David M. Raup, University of Chicago
7. Neutral Model of Taxonomic Diversification in the Phanerozoic: A Methodological Discussion, Antoni Hoffman, Institute of Paleobiology, Polish Academy of Sciences
8. Testing Hypotheses or Fitting Models: Another Look at Mass Extinctions, Stephen M. Stigler, University of Chicago

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