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Morphometric analysis of Cambrian fossils and its evolutionary significance

  • Illiam Jackson
Publishing year: 2017-05-12
Language: English
Document type: Dissertation
Publisher: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract english

The Extended Evolutionary Synthesis (EES) is currently emerging as a theoretical alternative to the Modern Synthesis (MS) in which to frame evolutionary observations and interpretations. These alternative frameworks differ fundamentally in their understanding of the relative roles of the genotype, phenotype, development and environment in evolutionary processes and patterns. While the MS represents a gene-centred view of evolution, the EES instead emphasizes the interactions between organism, development and environment. This novel theoretical framework has generated a number of evolutionary predictions that are mutually incompatible with the equivalent of the MS. While research and empirical testing has begun on a number of these in a neontological context, the field of palaeontology has yet to contribute meaningfully to this endeavour. One of the reasons for this is a lack of methodological approaches capable of investigating relevant evolutionary patterns in the fossil record. In this
thesis morphometric methods capable of providing relevant data are developed and employed in the analysis of Cambrian fossils. Results of these analyses provide empirical support for the process of evolution through phenotypic plasticity and genetic assimilation hypothesized by the EES. Furthermore, theoretical revision to the species concept in a palaeontological context is suggested. Finally, predictions of the EES specific to the fossil record are made explicit and promising directions of future research are outlined.


  • Evolutionary Biology


  • Graham Budd
  • ISBN: 978-91-554-9894-8