The Evolutionary Synthesis: Perspectives on the Unification of Biology

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Biology was forged into a single, coherent science only within living memory. In this volume the thinkers responsible for the "modern synthesis" of evolutionary biology and genetics come together to analyze that remarkable event. In a new Preface, Ernst Mayr calls attention to the fact that scientists in different biological disciplines varied considerably in their degree of acceptance of Darwin's theories. Mayr shows us that these differences were played out in four separate periods: 1859 to 1899, 1900 to 1915, 1916 to 1936, and 1937 to 1947. He thus enables us to understand fully why the synthesis was necessary and why Darwin's original theory - that evolutionary change is due to the combination of variation and selection - is as solid at the end of the twentieth century as it was in 1859.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674272255
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1980
  • Pages: 498
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 9.54 (h) x 1.26 (d)

Meet the Author

Ernst Mayr is Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology, Emeritus, at Harvard University. He is also the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and awards, including the Crafoord Prize for Biology, the National Medal of Science, the Balzan Prize, and the Japan Prize.

William Provine is Professor of the History of Biology and Charles A. Alexander Professor of Biological Sciences at Cornell University. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has held a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 1988 he won Cornell's Clark Distinguished Teaching Award.

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Table of Contents

Preface, 1998
Preface to the Original Edition
Prologue: Some Thoughts on the History of the Evolutionary Synthesis 1
Pt. 1 Different Biological Disciplines and the Synthesis
Theoretical Population Genetics in the Evolutionary Synthesis 58
The Evolution of Genetic Systems: Contributions of Cytology to Evolutionary Theory 70
Cytology in the T. H. Morgan School 80
Cytogenetics and the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis 86
Embryology and the Modern Synthesis in Evolutionary Theory 97
The Modern Evolutionary Synthesis and the Biogenetic Law 112
The Role of Systematics in the Evolutionary Synthesis 123
Botany and the Synthetic Theory of Evolution 139
G. G. Simpson, Paleontology, and the Modern Synthesis 153
Morphology in the Evolutionary Synthesis 174
The Failure of Morphology to Assimilate Darwinism 180
Severtsov and Schmalhausen: Russian Morphology and the Evolutionary Synthesis 193
Pt. 2 The Synthesis in Different Countries
The Birth of the Genetic Theory of Evolution in the Soviet Union in the 1920s 229
Sergei Chetverikov, the Kol'tsov Institute, and the Evolutionary Synthesis 242
Historical Development of the Present Synthetic Neo-Darwinism in Germany 284
Evolutionary Theory in Germany: A Comment 303
Evolutionary Biology in France at the Time of the Evolutionary Synthesis 309
The Arrival of Neo-Darwinism in France 321
A Second Glance at Evolutionary Biology in France 322
Some Recollections Pertaining to the Evolutionary Synthesis 334
Lamarckism in Britain and the United States 343
A Note on W. L. Tower's Leptinotarsa Work 352
The Evolutionary Synthesis: Morgan and Natural Selection Revisited 356
Hypotheses That Blur and Grow 383
Pt. 3 Final Considerations
The Meaning of the Evolutionary Synthesis 388
Epilogue 399
How I Became a Darwinian 413
Curt Stern 424
J. B. S. Haldane, R. A. Fisher, and William Bateson 430
Morgan and the Theory of Natural Selection 432
Morgan and His School in the 1930s 445
G. G. Simpson 452
Contributors 467
Conference Participants 468
Index 469
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