No spoilers here, but the evidence presented on both sides makes for some thought-provoking reading.
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Being a university professor, he publishes often in scholarly journals, but also writes for a popular audience in places like the New York Times. The great proponent of evolution as an unpredictable and unrepeatable series of happenstance is Stephen Jay Gould, who posited that you could hit the rewind button on evolution and replay it infinitely and never get the same outcome twice.
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Yet much of the evolutionary record — as well as plenty of extant species, including those anoles — illustrates the concept of convergent evolution, where similar environmental pressures in disparate locales give rise to virtually identical evolutionary adaptations. Paul off the coast of Alaska; Flores, where they lived with Komodo dragons; even the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California.
By starting with a single parent strain and growing 12 separate colonies under identical conditions for years, Lenski was seeing whether they all behaved identically.
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The findings over time from this and other LTEEs offer some surprises but generally show significant predictability. While many of us tend to think of evolution as an eons-long process, we also intuitively understand that rapid genetic changes give rise to such organisms as antibiotic-resistant bacteria and pesticide-resistant insects. Fast changes happen in larger creatures, too.
Losos introduces us to many examples of field-based experiments in evolution that demonstrate just how quickly natural selection works to change the make-up of a given population.
Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution
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Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution by Jonathan B. Losos
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By Cass R. Sunstein
And what could these debates suggest about life on other planets? Ecology and Adaptive Radiation of Anoles. Shubin has conducted landmark research on the evolutionary origin of anatomical features of animals. One of his most significant discoveries, a million-year-old fossil called Tiktaalik roseae, is an important transitional form between fish and land animals. Shubin has written two popular science books: He serves as associate dean for academic strategy in the Biological Sciences Division.
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