Read Ontogeny and Phylogeny by Stephen Jay Gould Online


"Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" was Haeckel's answer--the wrong one--to the most vexing question of nineteenth-century biology: what is the relationship between individual development (ontogeny) and the evolution of species and lineages (phylogeny)? In this, the first major book on the subject in fifty years, Stephen Gould documents the history of the idea of recapitula"Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" was Haeckel's answer--the wrong one--to the most vexing question of nineteenth-century biology: what is the relationship between individual development (ontogeny) and the evolution of species and lineages (phylogeny)? In this, the first major book on the subject in fifty years, Stephen Gould documents the history of the idea of recapitulation from its first appearance among the pre-Socratics to its fall in the early twentieth century.Mr. Gould explores recapitulation as an idea that intrigued politicians and theologians as well as scientists. He shows that Haeckel's hypothesis--that human fetuses with gill slits are, literally, tiny fish, exact replicas of their water-breathing ancestors--had an influence that extended beyond biology into education, criminology, psychoanalysis (Freud and Jung were devout recapitulationists), and racism. The theory of recapitulation, Gould argues, finally collapsed not from the weight of contrary data, but because the rise of Mendelian genetics rendered it untenable.Turning to modern concepts, Gould demonstrates that, even though the whole subject of parallels between ontogeny and phylogeny fell into disrepute, it is still one of the great themes of evolutionary biology. Heterochrony--changes in developmental timing, producing parallels between ontogeny and phylogeny--is shown to be crucial to an understanding of gene regulation, the key to any rapprochement between molecular and evolutionary biology. Gould argues that the primary evolutionary value of heterochrony may lie in immediate ecological advantages for slow or rapid maturation, rather than in long-term changes of form, as all previous theories proclaimed.Neoteny--the opposite of recapitulation--is shown to be the most important determinant of human evolution. We have evolved by retaining the juvenile characters of our ancestors and have achieved both behavioral flexibility and our characteristic morphology thereby (large brains by prolonged retention of rapid fetal growth rates, for example).Gould concludes that there may be nothing new under the sun, but permutation of the old within complex systems can do wonders. As biologists, we deal directly with the kind of material complexity that confers an unbounded potential upon simple, continuous changes in underlying processes. This is the chief joy of our science."...

Title : Ontogeny and Phylogeny
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ISBN : 9780674639416
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 520 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Ontogeny and Phylogeny Reviews

  • Thalia
    2018-08-26 12:12

    One of Gould's earliest, definitely a book for scientists and people who love developmental biology, not so much for the mass market palate. As someone who spent a lot of time studying development, I love this book. Highly recommended for people who enjoy history and philosophy of science, too.

  • John
    2018-08-27 13:28

    One Of The Most Influential Books On Evolutionary Thought Published In The Past Twenty Five YearsIf there is any book that has greatly reinvigorated interest in the relationship of developmental biology to evolutionary biology, then Stephen Jay Gould's "Ontogeny and Phylogeny" may be the most likely suspect. When it was published originally back in the late 1970s, this elegantly written volume was as much a superb overview of Gould's extensive scientific research up to that time, having been preoccupied with understanding allometry and its evolutionary implications for years and writing a series of memorable scientific papers for which he would receive such notable honors as the Paleontological Society's Schuchert Award (which is bestowed upon paleobiologists under the age of forty for making significant contributions to the field.). It is one of the rare technical books on evolutionary thought which have become widely read by others outside of evolutionary biology, and that is due mainly for its relevance as an important history of developmental biology and philosophy of science text as well as a more technical volume of primary interest to developmental biologists, paleobiologists and other evolutionary biologists. Stephen Jay Gould explores the relationship between ontogeny and phylogeny with an elegant historical overview which starts with ancient Greek philosophers and emphasizes the work of Ernst Haeckel, Gavin de Beer and others. His scientific discussion about various aspects of ontogeny (e. g. neoteny) remains among the best written accounts I have come across. Now more than ever, "Ontogeny and Phylogeny" remains an important contribution to the history and philosophy of evolutionary thought in biology, especially in light of the current, substantial interest in "evo-devo", or rather, the importance of developmental biology in affecting not only our understanding of speciation, but equally important, in trying to comprehend better the patterns and processes of macroevolution. So I am not exaggerating when I observe that "Ontogeny and Phylogeny" remains one of the most influential books on evolutionary thought published in the last twenty five years; I predict that it will remain one of Gould's most important contributions to evolutionary biology, and an enduring legacy to a scientific career that became well known to fellow scientists and the general public alike.

  • Randy
    2018-08-27 15:28

    Good historical overview, very deep book on an intense subject

  • Andresinho
    2018-08-23 11:18

    It`s the most interesting opera about theorical evolution

  • Thalia
    2018-08-30 13:13

    I think this is my favorite book by Stephen Jay Gould, which is saying quite a bit. He goes through the history and philosophy of science in the attempts to understand the mechanisms of evolution, particularly the development (ontogeny) of an individual species, and the evolutionary "shrub" (phylogeny) and how the two are connected. A wonderful book, definetly something to read, think about, and read some more. Gould is (sadly, was) brilliant, and he leads the reader through the book without talking down to them. It's a book you have to be willing to engage in.

  • Royce Ratterman
    2018-08-23 07:15

    Most books are rated related to their usefulness and contributions to my research.Overall, a good book for the researcher and enthusiast.Read for personal research- found this book's contents helpful and inspiring - number rating relates to the book's contribution to my needs.

  • Joel Brumfield
    2018-09-11 15:28

    not easily understood but once you grasp the terminolgy makes a sound argument about form following function and how environmental conditions detrmine ultimate ontogeny and phyogeny.