Principles of Animal Design: The Optimization and Symmorphosis Debate

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This book discusses the controversial issue of whether animals are designed according to the same rules that engineers use in building machines, namely that materials and energy are used economically while attempting to achieve a high level of performance. There is considerable scientific controversy surrounding this question because, although there is much evidence suggesting that animals are indeed well designed, evolutionary biology tells us that animals are not "engineered" but result from evolution by natural selection. In this volume these highly controversial questions are debated by eminent experts on the basis of a wealth of evidence ranging from the molecular biology and biochemistry of enzyme systems through the study of bone and muscle to the design and function of integrated systems of energy supply and the nervous system. The authors have made a special effort to present the chapters in a form that is accessible to a broad readership of biologists interested in basic principles.
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Editorial Reviews

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" in examples of how functionally integrated systems provide evidence for or against the theory of symmorphosis. It is, moreover, a useful source of data for those interested in issues of constraint and optimization in animal design." Evolutionary Anthropology
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521586672
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2013
  • Pages: 314
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Table of Contents

A Tribute to C. Richard Taylor Ewald R. Weibel and Liana Bolis; A life with animals: from cat to fish Liana Bolis; 1. Symmorphosis and optimization of biological design: introduction and questions Ewald R. Weibel; 2. How much structure is enough? Knut Schmidt-Nielsen, Steven Vogel, Jared M. Diamond and R. McNeil Alexander; 3. Evolution of optimal systems Malcolm S. Gordon, Theodore Garland, Jr, Martin E. Feder and Robert E. Ricklefs; 4. Bone design and biomechanics Simon Maddrell, Pieter Dullemeijer, Andrew A. Biewener, Daniel E. Lieberman and Alfred W. Crompton; 5. Muscles and locomotion James W. Glasheen, Dirk Pette, Robert S. Staron, H. Lee Sweeney, Lawrence C. Rome, Thomas J. Roberts and Daniel Weihs; 6. Design of cells for metabolism Stan L. Lindstedt, Paul A. Srere, Peter W. Hochachka, Keven E. Conley and Raul K. Suarez; 7. Lungs and gills for gas exchange Pierre Dejours, Connie C. W. Hsia, John N. Maina, Edwin W. Taylor and David Randall; 8. Nutrient supply system Amiram Shkolnik, Kimberly A. Hammond, Ian D. Hume, Reinhold R. Hofmann and Wolfgang Wieser; 9. Integrative systems for oxygen and fuel delivery Ricardo Martinez-Ruiz, James H. Jones, Jean-Michel Weber, Hans Hoppeler, Yvon Le Maho and Mohamed Bnouham; 10. Design of nervous systems Richard D. Keynes, Simon B. Laughlin and Eviatar Nevo; 11. How good is best? Some afterthoughts on symmorphosis and optimization Ewald R. Weibel; Index.
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