Research project 7: The origins of organismal complexity thumbnail

Research project 7: The origins of organismal complexity

by Katrina J Falkenberg


‘The origins of organismal complexity’ is one of six research projects under the second theme, Evolutionary Innovations, in the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis research program. Charlie Cornwallis and Per Lundberg, together with Karin Rengefors and Lars-Anders Hansson (all at Lund University), are investigating the origins of multicellularity.   The emergence of multicellularity, that is, single cells

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A TVOL interview with Tobias Uller: Orchestrating the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis project thumbnail

A TVOL interview with Tobias Uller: Orchestrating the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis project

by David Sloan Wilson and Tobias Uller 


This View of Life (TVOL) is featuring a series of articles on the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis, based on a major grant from the John Templeton Foundation awarded to our team of scientists headed by Kevin Laland (St Andrews University) and Tobias Uller (Lund University). This interview with Tobias begins to introduce the empirical side of

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Who’s afraid of the Extended Synthesis? thumbnail

Who’s afraid of the Extended Synthesis?

by Massimo Pigliucci


“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” So wrote physicist Max Planck, in his Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers, (1949, pp. 33–34). That’s a bit drastic, perhaps,

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What evolutionary developmental biology (evo devo) brings to evolutionary biology thumbnail

What evolutionary developmental biology (evo devo) brings to evolutionary biology

by Armin P Moczek


Evolutionary biology is a very vibrant and highly successful discipline. Since its reformulation during the modern synthesis it has successfully tackled many major questions and developed into a sophisticated, powerful framework. But it is important to emphasize that there are foundational questions in evolutionary biology, questions that have motivated evolutionary biology from its inception, that

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What animal social learning can teach evolutionary biology thumbnail

What animal social learning can teach evolutionary biology

by Kevin N Laland & Andrew Whiten


In November, a colloquium of the National Academy of Sciences, entitled The Extension of Biology through Culture, celebrated a coming of age of animal social learning research. The meeting, co-organised by ourselves, Marcus Feldman and Francisco Ayala, was a striking testament to how far the study of animal culture has come in recent decades and

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A TVOL interview with philosopher Kim Sterelny: A conversation about the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis thumbnail

A TVOL interview with philosopher Kim Sterelny: A conversation about the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis

by David Sloan Wilson & Kim Sterelny


David Sloan Wilson of This View of Life (TVOL) interviews Kim Sterelny, one of the world’s most prominent philosophers of biology. Sterelny has served as editor of the journal Biology & Philosophy since 2000 and his books include: Sex and Death: An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology; Thought in a Hostile World: The Evolution of Human Cognition; Dawkins vs. Gould:

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Ecological development and adapting to change thumbnail

Ecological development and adapting to change

by Sonia E Sultan


As in many reptiles, the sex of leopard geckos is determined not by chromosomes, but by the environment. Hatchlings will develop into either males or females depending on the temperature they experience as incubating eggs. Sex isn’t hard-wired because the key genes involved in gonad differentiation are up- and down-regulated by temperature, so a fairly

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Why do we need an EES? thumbnail

Why do we need an EES?

by Massimo Pigliucci


Do we need an Extended Evolutionary Synthesis (EES)? Back in 2007 I argued for a positive answer in a paper published in Evolution. A few years later, with my colleague Gerd Müller, I co-edited an entire volume to attempt to map the territory of what an EES would look like. And now, with this blog

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Human influences on evolution: Theme issue thumbnail

Human influences on evolution: Theme issue

by Erik I Svensson


Niche construction refers to a process by which organisms modify their environments through their evolved traits, which in turn can feed back on the organisms themselves by modifying the selection processes they experience. Although the evolutionary importance and consequences of such niche construction is still debated, few biologists would deny its existence. The classical example

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Mum’s microbes are important for dung beetle development thumbnail

Mum’s microbes are important for dung beetle development

by Katrina J Falkenberg


An animal’s microbes not only help it to digest food, absorb nutrients and fight disease, they are also important during normal development. Researchers at Indiana University have shown that the collection of microbes passed from a beetle mother to her offspring (the maternal microbiome) is critically important for development of beetle larvae and their resistance

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