Professor and Science librarian at Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky 42101
Essay & Commentaries
Natural selection: A concept in need of some evolution?
Version of Record online: 24 OCT 2011
Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 17, Issue 3, pages 8–17, January/February 2012
How to Cite
Smith, C. H. (2012), Natural selection: A concept in need of some evolution?. Complexity, 17: 8–17. doi: 10.1002/cplx.20387
- Issue online: 11 JAN 2012
- Version of Record online: 24 OCT 2011
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- 7The colours of animals and plants. I. The colours of animals. Macmillan's Mag 1877, 36, 384–408, on p 405. Considerably earlier, in an 1866 letter to Darwin, he wrote: “Natural Selection . . . does not so much select special variations as exterminate the most unfavourable ones” (Alfred Russel Wallace Letters and Reminiscences); Marchant, J., Ed.; Harper: New York, 1916; on p 141.
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- 14On page 62 of Wallace's original natural selection essay of 1858 (On the tendency of varieties to depart indefinitely from the original type. J Proc Linn Soc: Zool 1858, 3, 53–62), he describes the action of natural selection through a now famous analogy: “The action of this principle is exactly like that of the centrifugal governor of the steam engine, which checks and corrects any irregularities almost before they become evident; and in like manner no unbalanced deficiency in the animal kingdom can ever reach any conspicuous magnitude, because it would make itself felt at the very first step, by rendering existence difficult and extinction almost sure soon to follow.” In 1972 Gregory Bateson suggested that with these words Wallace had become the first cybernetician: “. . . The steam engine with a governor is simply a circular train of causal events, with somewhere a link in that chain such that the more of something, the less of the next thing in the circuit . . . If causal chains with that general characteristic are provided with energy, the result will be . . . a self-corrective system. Wallace, in fact, proposed the first cybernetic model . . . Wallace saw the matter correctly, and natural selection acts primarily to keep the species unvarying . . .” (Steps to an Ecology of Mind; Chandler Publishing Co.: San Francisco, 1972, on p 435). For a recent perspective see: Fluctuating selection: the perpetual renewal of adaptation in variable environments. Phil Trans Roy Soc B 2010, 365, 87–97.
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- 181984, on p 62. Available at: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/DISS/dissertation.htm. Accessed March 27, 2011.The Dynamics of Animal Distribution: An Evolutionary/Ecological Model. University of Illinois: PhD Dissertation,
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- 22In a recent paper (Links between global taxonomic diversity, ecological diversity and the expansion of vertebrates on land. Biol Letters 2010, 6, 544–547) S. Sahney, M.J. Benton, and P.A. Ferry have made related arguments in trying to understand dinosaur diversification as a function not of competition, but of occupying new environments.
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- 30(a) The Darwin show. London Rev Books 2010, 32, 3–9. See also parallel remarks inDarwinism must dies so that evolution may live. The New York Times, 10 February2009, D3;(c)Corrections to chance fluctuations: quantum mind in biological evolution?Rivista di Biol 2009, 102, 419–446.
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- 34(a) Multiple explanations in Darwinian evolutionary theory. Acta Biotheor 2010, 58, 65–79.Simulating natural selection as a culling mechanism on finite populations with the hawk–dove game. Biosystems 2011, 104, 57–62;Pesk risk maps for invasive alien species: a roadmap for improvement. BioScience 2010, 60, 349–362.