Typology now: homology and developmental constraints explain evolvability [Book Review]

Biology and Philosophy 22 (5):709-725 (2007)
By linking the concepts of homology and morphological organization to evolvability, this paper attempts to (1) bridge the gap between developmental and phylogenetic approaches to homology and to (2) show that developmental constraints and natural selection are compatible and in fact complementary. I conceive of a homologue as a unit of morphological evolvability, i.e., as a part of an organism that can exhibit heritable phenotypic variation independently of the organism’s other homologues. An account of homology therefore consists in explaining how an organism’s developmental constitution results in different homologues/characters as units that can evolve independently of each other. The explanans of an account of homology is developmental, yet the very explanandum is an evolutionary phenomenon: evolvability in a character-by-character fashion, which manifests itself in phylogenetic patterns as recognized by phylogenetic approaches to homology. While developmental constraints and selection have often been viewed as antagonistic forces, I argue that both are complementary as they concern different parts of the evolutionary process. Developmental constraints, conceived of as the presence of the same set of homologues across phenotypic change, pertain to how heritable variation can be generated in the first place (evolvability), while natural selection operates subsequently on the produced variation
Keywords Developmental constraints  Evolutionary developmental biology  Evolvability  Explanation  Homology  Organization  Theoretical integration
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10539-007-9089-3
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 17 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Marc Ereshefsky (2012). Homology Thinking. Biology and Philosophy 27 (3):381-400.

View all 11 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

66 ( #51,671 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

9 ( #74,830 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.