Evolution Driven by Organismal Behavior thumbnail

Evolution Driven by Organismal Behavior

by Rui Diogo


In my latest book, Evolution Driven by Organismal Behavior, I present the theory of Organic Nonoptimal Constrained Evolution – or ONCE. It argues that evolution is mainly driven by the behavioral choices and persistence of organisms themselves, in a process in which Darwinian natural selection is a secondary – but still crucial – evolutionary player.

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Could <em>Planet of the Apes</em> actually happen? thumbnail

Could Planet of the Apes actually happen?

by Kevin N Laland


Following release of the blockbuster movie, biologist Kevin Laland asks ‘Why not?’   This week many of us will watch an army of retrovirus-modified apes wage brutal war against humanity. Unquestionably, chimpanzees on horseback, machine-gun-wielding gorillas and tutoring orangutans make spectacular theatre, but could it happen in reality? As people around the globe flock to

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Conditional gene expression, developmental plasticity, and the diversification of horned beetles thumbnail

Conditional gene expression, developmental plasticity, and the diversification of horned beetles

by Armin P Moczek


Developmental plasticity is the ability of an organism to adjust aspects of its phenotype in response to environmental conditions (both internal and external). Plasticity is a well-studied phenomenon, and a growing number of studies implicate developmental plasticity in facilitating and shaping adaptive evolution. We used three horned beetle species to learn more about possible relationships

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Epigenetic inheritance in evolution: an interview with Eva Jablonka thumbnail

Epigenetic inheritance in evolution: an interview with Eva Jablonka

by Eva Jablonka & Katrina J Falkenberg


Eva Jablonka is a professor at The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas at Tel Aviv University, Israel. With Marion Lamb, she has been the most prominent longstanding champion of the importance of epigenetic inheritance in evolution and has published many papers and books on the topic. Katrina Falkenberg is

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Deconstructing niche construction: A TVOL conversation between Gordon Burghardt and Kevin Laland thumbnail

Deconstructing niche construction: A TVOL conversation between Gordon Burghardt and Kevin Laland

by Gordon M Burghardt & Kevin N Laland


The concept of niche construction stresses a dialectical relationship between organisms and their environments, rather than one being passively shaped by the other. It has deep roots in evolutionary thought but only now is resulting in a systematic research program as part of the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis (EES). Join Gordon Burghardt and Kevin Laland as

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Linking micro- and macroevolution through studies of thermal plasticity in an old insect order thumbnail

Linking micro- and macroevolution through studies of thermal plasticity in an old insect order

by Stephen de Lisle


One major challenge in evolutionary biology is the apparent disparity between microevolution (evolution within populations over short timescales) and macroevolution (evolutionary divergence of lineages over millions of years). Studies of morphological evolution in deep time have revealed a pattern of stasis. In contrast, studies of contemporary populations and laboratory experiments have shown that evolution often

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A philosopher’s perspective on the ‘Cause and Process in Evolution’ workshop thumbnail

A philosopher’s perspective on the ‘Cause and Process in Evolution’ workshop

by Jan Baedke


Around ten years ago, in 2008 Massimo Pigliucci and Gerd Müller organized a workshop on the so-called Extended Evolutionary Synthesis at the Konrad Lorenz Institute (KLI) for theoretical biology in Vienna. This meeting resulted in their seminal edition Evolution: The Extended Synthesis. On May 11th to 14th the KLI hosted again a meeting on this

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Workshop report: Cause and Process in Evolution thumbnail

Workshop report: Cause and Process in Evolution

by Wim Hordijk


“Most scientific explanations are causal. This is also the case in evolutionary biology, where the primary goals are to explain the diversity of life and the adaptive fit between organisms and their surroundings. Yet, the nature of causation in evolutionary biology is contentious.” So starts the description of a workshop on Cause and Process in Evolution,

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Sticklebacks, selection shadows, and salinity shifts: phenotypic plasticity in novel environments thumbnail

Sticklebacks, selection shadows, and salinity shifts: phenotypic plasticity in novel environments

by Helen C Spence-Jones


Phenotypic plasticity is the ability of one genotype to produce multiple phenotypes depending on external environmental conditions (see our slideshow for further information). It comes in many forms: from permanent developmental shifts in early life to ongoing, reversible behavioural responses to fluctuating environmental conditions. Although widespread, its role and importance in evolutionary dynamics is not

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Why is human niche construction reshaping planet Earth? thumbnail

Why is human niche construction reshaping planet Earth?

by Erle C Ellis


Human societies have become a ‘great force of nature’. Among the many massive environmental changes we are causing are the widespread conversion of habitats to agricultural fields and settlements, species extinctions, global climate change, and the pollution of air, land and sea. So profound are these global transformations that geologists may soon recognise them as

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