The mechanisms of macroevolutionary change are a contentious issue. Paleoecological evidence, presented in this book, shows that evolutionary processes visible in ecological time cannot be used to predict macroevolutionary trends, contrary to Darwin's original thesis. The author discusses how climatic oscillations on ice-age timescales are paced by variations in the Earth's orbit, and have thus been a permanent feature of Earth history. There is, however, little evidence for macroevolutionary change in response to these climatic changes, suggesting that over geological time, macroevolution does not occur as a result of accumulated short term processes. These conclusions are used to construct a postmodern evolutionary synthesis in which evolution and ecology play an equal role. Written by a leading paleoecologist, this book will be of interest to researchers in both ecology and evolutionary biology.
Table of Contents
Preface; 1. Introduction; 2. Development of ideas; 3. Orbital-forcing of climatic oscillations; 4. Geological evidence for orbital-forcing; 5. Biological response: distribution; 6. Biological response: evolution; 7. Biological response: extinction; 8. Evolution and ecology: synthesis; References; Index.