How the Leopard Changed Its Spots: The Evolution of Complexity

by Brian Goodwin



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How the Leopard Changed Its Spots: The Evolution of Complexity by Brian Goodwin

Do genes explain life? Can advances in evolutionary and molecular biology account for what we look like, how we behave, and why we die? In this powerful intervention into current biological thinking, Brian Goodwin argues that such genetic reductionism has important limits.

Drawing on the sciences of complexity, the author shows how an understanding of the self-organizing patterns of networks is necessary for making sense of nature. Genes are important, but only as part of a process constrained by environment, physical laws, and the universal tendencies of complex adaptive systems. In a new preface for this edition, Goodwin reflects on the advances in both genetics and the sciences of complexity since the book's original publication.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691088099
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 01/29/2001
Series: Princeton Science Library Series
Edition description: With a New preface by the author
Pages: 275
Sales rank: 856,017
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.59(d)

About the Author

Brian Goodwin is Professor of Biology and Coordinator of Holistic Science at Schumacher College, Devon, UK. He is the editor of Theoretical Biology: Epigenetic and Evolutionary Order from Complex Systems and the coauthor of Form and Transformation and Signs of Life.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Princeton Science Library Edition vii

Preface xi

Acknowledgements xix

Chapter 1 Whatever Happened to Organisms? 1

Chapter 2 How the Leopard Got Its Spots 18

Chapter 3 Life, the Excitable Medium 42

Chapter 4 Living Form in the Making 77

Chapter 5 The Evolution of Generic Forms 115

Chapter 6 New Directions, New metaphors 169

Chapter 7 A Science of Qualities 196

References 238

Further Reading 242

Index 245

What People are Saying About This

Simon Levin

This is a brilliant book,wonderfully written. . . . Goodwin is a real scholar,of great breadth and insight. He writes beautifully,conveying difficult themes in an exciting manner.

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