Discussion: Leo Buss's the evolution of individuality

Biology and Philosophy 7 (4):453-460 (1992)
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In his book The Evolution of Individuality, Leo Buss attacks a central dogma of the neo-Darwinian (or synthetic) theory of evolution, the idea that the individual is the sole unit of selection, by arguing that individuals themselves emerged as the result of selective forces that regulated the replication of cell lineages for the benefit of the whole organism. Buss also argues that metazoan developmental patterns and life cycles are the products of selection operating on different units of selection, and that there have been transitions between different units of selection during the history of life. Despite the revolutionary character of this book, The Evolution of Individuality in many ways reflects the adaptationist thinking often associated with the synthetic theory. Buss' framework could be improved by giving further consideration to chance factors in the evolution of development, and examining the details of the evolution of ontogeny in more depth.



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