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Author Bonner, John Tyler.

Title Randomness in evolution / John Tyler Bonner
Published Princeton : Princeton University Press, [2013]
Princeton Princeton University Press, [2013]
Online access available from:
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JSTOR eBooks    View Resource Record  


Description 1 online resource (133 pages)
Contents Cover; Title; Copyright; CONTENTS; Illustrations; Preface; 1 Life and the Riddle of Randomness; 2 Time, Size, and Complexity; Fig. 1. Sizes of the largest organisms through Earth history.; Fig. 2. Estimated numbers of cell types of early members of various animal groups.; Fig. 3. The increase of complexity of all organisms and organism groups over geological time.; 3 Small Organisms and Neutral Morphologies; Fig. 4. Two plates from Ernst Haeckel's study of the Radiolaria collected on the voyage of the HMS Challenger.; Fig. 5. Some common forms of diatoms
Fig. 6. A comparison of fruiting body formation of Dictyostelium with that of Polysphondylium.4 The Evolution of the Decrease of Randomness; Fig. 7. Development of a cellular slime mold.; Fig. 8. Protostelium: a single amoeba secretes a thin stalk and rises into the air.; Fig. 9. A diagram comparing mutations in morphology in microorganisms and larger organisms.; 5 An Exception: Where Small Organisms Suppress Randomness; Fig. 10. The progressive decrease in the size of a diatom.; Fig. 11. The asexual and sexual cycles of Volvox
6 The Division of Labor: Two Cases of the Return of Randomness in Higher FormsFig. 12. Range variation in size in Paramecium.; Fig. 13. Pure lines of genetically similar beans showing range variation in size.; 7 Envoi; Fig. 14. A diagram reflecting the main themes in this essay.; Acknowledgments; Bibliography; Index
Summary "John Tyler Bonner, one of our most distinguished and insightful biologists, here challenges a central tenet of evolutionary biology. In this concise, elegantly written book, he makes the bold and provocative claim that some biological diversity may be explained by something other than natural selection. With his customary wit and accessible style, Bonner makes an argument for the underappreciated role that randomness--or chance--plays in evolution. Due to the tremendous and enduring influence of Darwin's natural selection, the importance of randomness has been to some extent overshadowed. Bonner shows how the effects of randomness differ for organisms of different sizes, and how the smaller an organism is, the more likely it is that morphological differences will be random and selection may not be involved to any degree. He traces the increase in size and complexity of organisms over geological time, and looks at the varying significance of randomness at different size levels, from microorganisms to large mammals. Bonner also discusses how sexual cycles vary depending on size and complexity, and how the trend away from randomness in higher forms has even been reversed in some social organisms. Certain to provoke lively discussion, Randomness in Evolution is a book that may fundamentally change our understanding of evolution and the history of life"--
Notes Description based on print version record
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index
Notes Mode of access: World Wide Web
Description based on print version record
Subject Chance.
Human beings -- Constitution.
Variation (Biology)
Evolution (Biology)
Form Electronic book
ISBN 9781400846429 (electronic bk.)
1400846420 (electronic bk.)