How Macro-Evolutionary Studies Call for an Extended Synthesis

Sunday, February 17, 2013: 8:30 AM-11:30 AM
Room 203 (Hynes Convention Center)
When Eldredge and Gould formulated the punctuated equilibria theory, they put several macroevolutionary phenomena on the agenda that were not addressed by the early population geneticists and the founders of the Modern Synthesis. Their theory provides alternative scientific interpretations for the mode and tempo of evolution. Occurring gaps in the fossil record, or the lack of evidence for the existence of intermediate species, are understood as real. And some (living) fossils do not appear to undergo any significant evolutionary change for millions of years, which necessitates the study of stasis. Acknowledging that evolution can occur faster or slower than predicted by Neodarwinians has consequences for how we define species and for determining the levels of evolution. Macroevolutionary studies provide different species concepts and argue that evolution can occur at levels higher than the pheno- or genotype. Today, multiple scholars investigate the causes of evolutionary stasis as well as punctuations, macroevolutionary trends, and how evolution occurs at different hierarchies. In recent years, evidence for macroevolution is also provided from within the field of molecular biology, and the pattern of punctuated equilibrium has been proven to be present in neontological and even sociocultural evolutionary phenomena. The session will examine how macroevolutionary studies call for an extension of the Modern Synthesis and which methodologies and techniques enable the study of macroevolutionary events.
Nathalie L. Gontier, University of Lisbon
Emanuele Serrelli, University of Milan-Bicocca
Emanuele Serrelli, University of Milan-Bicocca
David Sepkoski, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
Stephen Jay Gould's Hierarchical Alternative to Neodarwinism
Douglas H. Erwin, Smithsonian Institution
The Evolution of Evolution: Changing Dynamics in Macroevolution
Folmer Bokma, Umeå University
Complexity and Limits to Change
Nathalie L. Gontier, University of Lisbon
Punctuated Equilibria: A Universal Pattern in Life and Culture
See more of: Biological Science and Genomics
See more of: Symposia