Download Convergent Evolution: Limited Forms Most Beautiful (Vienna by George McGhee PDF

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By George McGhee

Charles Darwin famously concluded at the starting place of Species with a imaginative and prescient of "endless kinds most lovely" regularly evolving. greater than one hundred fifty years later many evolutionary biologists see no longer never-ending types however the related, or very comparable, types evolving time and again in lots of autonomous species lineages. A porpoise's fishlike fins, for instance, aren't inherited from fish ancestors yet are independently derived convergent characteristics. during this ebook, George McGhee describes the ubiquity of the phenomenon of convergent evolution and connects it on to the inspiration of evolutionary constraint--the concept that the variety of evolutionary pathways to be had to existence aren't unending, yet really constrained. Convergent evolution happens on all degrees, from tiny natural molecules to whole ecosystems of species. McGhee demonstrates its ubiquity in animals, either herbivore and carnivore; in crops; in ecosystems; in molecules, together with DNA, proteins, and enzymes; or even in minds, describing problem-solving habit and crew habit because the items of convergence. for every species instance, he presents an abbreviated checklist of the key nodes in its phylogenetic class, permitting the reader to determine the evolutionary courting of a gaggle of species that experience independently developed a related trait by means of convergent evolution. McGhee analyzes the function of practical and developmental constraints in generating convergent evolution, and considers the medical and philosophical implications of convergent evolution for the predictability of the evolutionary method.

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Additional resources for Convergent Evolution: Limited Forms Most Beautiful (Vienna Series in Theoretical Biology)

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Thus, at the maximum end of the visible light spectrum, it may well be impossible to evolve an eye that can detect electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths greater than 800 nanometers, the beginning of the infrared spectrum. 5). In the crotaline pit vipers, a heat-sensitive facial pit is located between the eye and the nostril on each side of the head. In boid constrictors, heat-sensitive pits are located in the lip scales. The sensory information from the pit organs is processed in the same region of the snake’s brain as the sensory information from the eyes; thus, this may be the only way in which vertebrates may “see” infrared light.

Similary, some flying bats are carnivores, like the insectivorous microbats, while others are herbivores, like the frugivorous megabats. In addition to locomotion, the particular mode of feeding of an animal imposes additional functional constraints, which again are reflected in subsequent convergent evolution, as we shall see in the next section of the chapter. Carnivores: Prey Detection As heterotrophic organisms, animals are incapable of synthesizing their own food, unlike plants, which we shall consider in the next chapter.

2). Glider morphologies have repeatedly been evolved in the diapsid reptiles, but in a form very different from that found in the mammals. Reptilian gliders have bodies that are dorsoventrally flattened and laterally widened. Within their bodies, the ribs are flattened and greatly elongated laterally, away from the anteroposterior axis of the vertebral column. Species of the modern flying lizard genus Draco have bodies that resemble a discus in flight—with a pair of forelimbs and a head attached at one side and a pair of hind limbs and a tail attached to the opposite side.

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